03/02/2013 4:25 PM ET
Command, breaking balls crisp in Chen's debut
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Orioles lefty Wei-Yin Chen threw two scoreless innings in his first spring start Saturday against the Rays, allowing a pair of singles in the first. Chen threw 23 pitches, 17 strikes, and said afterward everything felt good.
"I think my command and breaking ball control is getting better and better this year," Chen said through interpreter Tim Lin.
Chen had some right knee soreness toward the end of last year and the team tried to give him some extra rest down the stretch. It was also one of the reasons they held him back, along with Jason Hammel and Miguel Gonzalez, during the early part of spring.
"Last year, I felt a little bit scary about pitching because of soreness in my knee," said Chen, who had his shoulder and knee wrapped in ice as he talked to reporters. "This year, I feel totally fine. I'm really lucky enough to be pitching again today."
"Was good to get him out there, he's where he needs to be," manager Buck Showalter said of Chen, who declined an invitation to pitch in the World Baseball Classic. "And not in Taiwan."
Roberts enjoying return to normalcy
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Second baseman Brian Roberts has been a fixture in the Orioles' clubhouse this spring, laughing and joking around with teammates while avoiding the seemingly endless daily health updates that previously made the veteran a scarce figure and his every batting practice a major media event.
"For the first time in a couple years, I've been able to be a normal guy and go out here and get my work in, just try to prepare like I normally would," said Roberts, who has been full-go since Day 1 and went 3-for-3 on Friday to raise his spring average to .545 in four games.
"A day like yesterday certainly reaffirms what you've done and the work you've put in to try and get back to this. And I think throughout the process, there were probably, I know there were a lot of doubts from the outside, and even on the inside for me. So, I think that [having early success in camp] is always helpful at this stage."
Roberts, 35, hasn't played a full year since 2009, undergoing season-ending hip surgery last year, and has looked more and more comfortable as spring progresses. He hit a leadoff homer in Friday's win and has doubled twice.
Manager Buck Showalter likes to point out Roberts is simply enjoying playing baseball again. Could he have hoped for anything more on March 2?
"No, probably not," Roberts said of his encouraging health and performance. "I didn't know how well it was going to go right from the start. I wasn't overly concerned about having immediate success or anything. But the early success certainly helps. The game was a little bit fast last year and I think it kind of slowed down a little bit, finally."
Reimold to take it slow with shoulder soreness
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Outfielder Nolan Reimold, who left Friday's game with right shoulder soreness, will be brought along slowly the next few days, although manager Buck Showalter reiterated Saturday the team doesn't believe it's related to Reimold's neck surgery.
"Probably during the regular season, he probably wouldn't have said anything," Showalter said of Reimold, who informed him of the soreness before his second-inning at-bat. "I appreciate him saying something, I don't want it to turn into something else. He knows we got a lot of time down here. I'm not concerned about it, yet."
Orioles catcher Taylor Teagarden (lower back) was feeling slightly better on Saturday morning and left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada threw a 30-pitch bullpen session back in Sarasota at the Ed Smith Stadium Complex.
Showalter said the organization is "really encouraged" with what's going on with Wada, who has thrown three bullpens this week, although he was unsure of the next step. Wada, who is rehabbing from May's Tommy John surgery, could pitch in a simulated game at some point soon.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.