Orioles lefty Wei-Yin Chen left today’s start against the Twins with an apparent oblique strain. After getting the final out of the fifth inning, he was seen grabbing his right side and was replaced in the sixth inning by Tommy Hunter. Over five innings, Chen held the Twins scoreless on five hits and no walks while striking out three.
MLB.com’s Britt Ghiroli suggests that a stint on the disabled list is likely, as is the case for most oblique strains. Chen entered the afternoon with a 3.40 ERA over seven starts, continuing to be the Orioles’ most reliable starter.
However, Ghiroli also tweeted that Chen wasn’t in pain after the game and hopes to avoid the DL.
Free agent outfielder Michael Saunders has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Royals, the team announced Friday. While the move comes just two days after Saunders agreed to terms with the Pirates, he allegedly asked for his release after the club acquired outfielder Corey Dickerson in a multi-player swap with the Rays on Thursday.
After earning his first spot on an All-Star team in 2016, Saunders followed up a solid campaign with a career-worst performance in 2017. The 31-year-old split the season between the Phillies and Blue Jays’ camps, batting a combined .202/.256/.344 with six home runs and -0.7 fWAR in 234 plate appearances. Although he remained healthy throughout the year, with no sign of the lingering hamstring strain that has plagued him on and off since 2013, he wasn’t productive enough to merit a full-time role on either roster.
With Dickerson slated for a starting role in Pittsburgh, it was unlikely that Saunders would have commanded anything other than a backup role in 2018. Now, however, he’ll compete for playing time amid a slew of outfield options, including Alex Gordon, Cody Asche, Jorge Bonifacio, Tyler Collins and Paulo Orlando.