Wei-Yin Chen makes an appearance for the Miami Marlins

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MIAMI, FL - APRIL 13: Wei-Yin Chen
MIAMI, FL - APRIL 13: Wei-Yin Chen /
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After being on the disabled list for over three months, Wei-Yin Chen made his return to the Miami Marlins on Monday.

The arm issues that forced Wei-Yin Chen out of the rotation and onto the disabled list could still be plaguing him. After a hiatus from throwing and several setbacks, Chen appears to have found a way to curb the discomfort he was feeling in his elbow.

He was pitching well before he was abruptly placed on the disabled list. What was supposed to be a short stay resulted in him missing the bulk of the season. On Monday, he made his first appearance in a Major League game since May 1st.

It was his first career appearance out of the bullpen. More could be on the way.

Chen looked good in his return to the mound. He worked a perfect eighth inning before being lifted for Justin Nicolino. While the bullpen isn’t a permanent landing spot for Chen, he’ll make several more appearances there this season.

The hard part will be finding a way to work him in. Chen has told manager Don Mattingly that he’ll need at least 10-minutes to get his arm loose. That doesn’t translate well for work out of the bullpen. He’d essentially need a full inning before he is ready to enter the game.

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On nights like Monday, it isn’t an issue. Miami knew they’d be lifting Dustin McGowan at the end of the inning. But in games where the team needs pitchers to be loose in a matter of minutes, Chen won’t be an option.

Miami still has $75.8 million invested in Chen beyond this season. They’ll need his arm healthy if they hope to get any value from that contract.

Chen’s immediate future and beyond

Miami could very well handle Chen out of the bullpen for the rest of the season. He’s essentially a non-factor in most game situations due to the amount of time he needs to get loose. , They’ll labor to find spots for him to get work.

A start at the end of the season isn’t out of the question though. Ultimately, that’s what the Miami Marlins are going to need him to do. The Marlins didn’t sign him to become their highest paid reliever of all-time.

Chen made several starts in the minor leagues before being activated by the Marlins. If they don’t try to get him at least one start by seasons end, it’s because he’s suffered another setback.

The best case scenario for the Miami Marlins involves Chen being moved from the team completely.

Ideally, he’d finish the season strong and strengthen his arm over the offseason. Sustained health and effectiveness through the first half of the season could be enough to entice a trade partner.

In the throws of deadline madness, Miami might be able to get out from under his onerous contract. Even if they have to eat a portion of it, it’s money off the books.

Next: Prediction: Ichiro won't be back with Marlins

Wei-Yin Chen looked healthy retiring the side in order on Monday night. It’s going to be a slow, methodical trek back for him though. A start by the end of the season isn’t out of the question, but only after several successful bullpen appearances.

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