Command, breaking balls crisp in Chen's debut

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."