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BALTIMORE — What had the potential to be a significant problem with Orioles left-handed pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada’s minor-league rehab assignment coming to an end wound up having a simple solution.
Despite owning a clause in his two-year, $8.15 million contract that said the Orioles could not option him to the minor leagues without his consent, Wada accepted a minor-league assignment as he was reinstated from the 60-day disabled list on Friday. He has yet to throw a pitch in the major leagues after undergoing Tommy John surgery in May of last year.
Wada progressed well in the spring, but the 32-year-old struggled mightily in his minor-league rehab assignment with Norfolk, making it apparent he was not ready to pitch at the next level. In six rehab starts for the Tides, Wada was 1-4 with an 8.14 earned run average in 24 1/3 innings.
His major-league salary is guaranteed, meaning there are no financial ramifications for the Japanese lefty to remain with the Tides. His contract expires at the end of this season and it would not be beneficial for either Wada or the Orioles to have him join the 25-man roster when he has proven unable to be effective in Triple A to this point..
Had Wada not provided his consent, the Orioles would have been hard pressed to find a roster spot for him as only two relievers in their normal bullpen — Brian Matusz and Darren O’Day — have minor-league options and he certainly hadn’t earned any consideration to join the starting rotation.