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Orioles left-hander Wada to begin rehab assignment on Thursday

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Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke Jones is the Ravens and Orioles beat reporter for WNST BaltimorePositive.com and is a PFWA member. His mind is consumed with useless sports knowledge, pro wrestler promos, and movie quotes, but he struggles to remember where he put his phone. Luke's favorite sports memories include being one of the thousands of kids who waited to get Cal Ripken's autograph after Orioles games in the summer of 1995, attending the Super Bowl XXXV victory parade with his father in the pouring rain, and watching the Terps advance to the Final Four at the Carrier Dome in 2002. Follow him on Twitter @BaltimoreLuke or email him at Luke@wnst.net.

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Despite receiving bad news on starting pitcher Wei-Yin Chen Monday, the Orioles announced Japanese left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada will begin his long-awaited injury rehab assignment with Triple-A Norfolk.

The 32-year-old will pitch against Lehigh Valley to begin a rehab assignment on Thursday that can last up to 30 days. Signed to a two-year, $8.15 million contract two winters ago, Wada has yet to throw a pitch for the Orioles after undergoing Tommy John surgery last year.

It’s unclear what Wada’s role would be upon joining the club — his contract stipulates he must sign off before being optioned to the minor leagues — but the southpaw has been stretched out as a starter in extended spring training in Sarasota. Wada is eligible to return from the 60-day disabled list on May 30, but manager Buck Showalter has already said the club won’t rush his rehab assignment with the understanding that he hasn’t pitched competitively in well over a year.

Showalter would be the first to tell us speculating on Wada’s role is getting too far ahead of ourselves, but it will be interesting to see whether the Orioles deem him worthy of a rotation spot or would try to figure out a way to use him in a bullpen that already includes lefties Brian Matusz, Troy Patton, and T.J. McFarland.

Of course, Wada needs to continue to show his surgically-repaired elbow is sound while pitching effectively on his rehab assignment.

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