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Chen sent to Minors, but will return to make next start

BOSTON -- This is more of a coincidence than it is a matter of cause-and-effect.

One day after the shortest start of Wei-Yin Chen's Major League career, the Orioles optioned him all the way down to their affiliate in the Gulf Coast League. Baltimore made the move to free up a roster spot for Kevin Gausman, but Chen will also be able to return to make his next scheduled start.

The Orioles plan on bringing Chen back right after the Gulf Coast League season ends on Thursday, and he'll likely start for Baltimore against the Yankees on Sunday. By moving him all the way down to the Gulf Coast League, the Orioles can get Chen back a little earlier than otherwise expected.

"I think he was thinking that he had a bad outing last night and that we were sending him to the Gulf Coast League," said manager Buck Showalter. "That wasn't the case at all. His service time allowed us to send him there, whereas a guy like [Ryan] Flaherty could only go to the [South Atlantic League]. ... He understands. We would have liked to send him to Baltimore, but that wouldn't have been legal."

Chen is 7-7 with a 3.76 ERA, but he got knocked around for a career-high eight earned runs in Tuesday's 13-2 loss to the Red Sox. The left-hander missed eight weeks with a strained right oblique earlier in the year, and he's pitched to a 4.76 ERA since the All-Star break.

The 28-year-old didn't speak to the media on Wednesday, but Showalter said Chen will work out Thursday with Dave Schmidt, the team's Florida and Latin America pitching administrator. Chen will throw a normal side session before returning to the club this weekend, said Showalter.

"He is flying -- as we speak, I think -- to Sarasota with Tim, his interpreter," Showalter said. "The plans are, when their season ends on the 29th, to bring him to meet us in New York for a start on Sunday [when rosters can expand to 40 players]. I hope everything goes well."

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for
Read More: Baltimore Orioles, Wei-Yin Chen