Chen to pitch out of bullpen for final month

Left-hander has been out since May with elbow injury

Chen to pitch out of bullpen for final month

MIAMI -- Although it's been a while, Wei-Yin Chen is not exactly a stranger to working out of the bullpen. He did it back in the days of playing in Japan. But that appears to be the role he'll play for the Marlins, at least through the end of this season.

Chen threw two innings of scoreless relief on Friday, a 26-pitch outing, with Class A Advanced Jupiter in his third and longest rehab appearance since going on the disabled list May 5 with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow. The left-hander hasn't pitched for the Marlins since a May 1 start. The 32-year-old Chen is 2-1 for the Marlins in just five starts with a 4.33 ERA.

But Chen will finish out the season coming out of the Marlins' bullpen, something he has never done as a Major Leaguer.

"It's not brand new to me," said Chen, who added that pitching in short stints could help keep his arm healthy. "As a reliever I used to learn how to focus on every batter, so it might be a chance for me to make a fresh start."

In three rehab appearances, Chen pitched a total of 4 2/3 innings without allowing a run. He struck out three and walked one while giving up six hits.

"I feel fine," Chen said. "My breaking ball and my control, I feel, is pretty good. I'm ready to pitch. So, either I go from a starter or the 'pen. It's OK. Whatever they need, I'll do it."

Because of his limited innings, manager Don Mattingly said it would be tough to expect 60-70 pitches when the most he's thrown is around 35. So coming out of the bullpen looks to be his best option for the final month of the season. How he's used out of the bullpen is still to be determined.

"It depends on how much time he's going to need to warm up," said Mattingly, who suggested that one option might be using Chen in a lefty vs. lefty situation. "How much time he needs to warm up dictates how I'll be able to use him."

Making sure he's warmed up before getting the call from the bullpen is Mattingly's main concern. As a starter, pitchers have plenty of time pregame to get ready.

"Obviously, in the bullpen, you don't have that kind of time," Mattingly said. "So we'll talk it over and try to put a plan together. Now that it sounds like he's pretty much at the end of the rehab process as far as what he can go out and do with teams, we're going to have to put a plan together."

Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Marlins on Saturday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.