Monday, February 27, 2012

Wang sharp throwing live BP

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Chien-Ming Wang throws during live BP today.
VIERA, Fla. -- Though everyone on the pitching staff throws live batting practice, for most guys, it's merely another mundane part of spring training. For some, though, it carries more weight.

Such is the case for Chien-Ming Wang. Though he's now 2 1/2 years removed from major shoulder surgery and appears by all indications to be 100 percent healthy, each of his throwing sessions draws more than a typical amount of attention.

When Wang took the mound today to face hitters, nearly every important member of the Nationals' coaching staff and front office paused to watch. At various points, manager Davey Johnson was there, as were pitching coach Steve McCatty, general manager Mike Rizzo and head trainer Lee Kuntz.

The consensus opinion: Wang was sharp, maybe sharper than he's been in a long time.

"He looks good," McCatty said to a few fellow onlookers as he walked away to watch another pitcher on an adjacent field.

In particular, Wang appeared to be getting a lot of late movement on his trademark sinker. He induced a string of foul balls that rattled off the batting cage, leaving the batters reaching for pitches that started out in the strike zone only to dart down and to the right at the last instant.

"His delivery is free and easy," Johnson said. "As he went along, he got stronger. His velocity was better."

Wang hasn't been blowing anyone away with his stuff so far this spring, and he's been taking extra days off between throwing sessions to make sure his shoulder remains strong and he doesn't experience any setbacks. But the Nationals like what they see so far, and -- for now -- they expect him to be a part of the Opening Day rotation.

"He's a veteran pitcher," Johnson said. "He knows what he has to do to peak at the right time."

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

Embarrassment of riches? What a novel feeling.

He's now the lesser-known Taiwanese athlete, but I for one am willing to root for a Chien-Ming Dynasty!

Anonymous said...

Wangsanity, anyone?

natsfan1a said...

Uh, no thanks, 6:41. An embarassment of riches, indeed, both on the field and on the blog, as Mark's been dealing the posts. :-)

Anonymous said...

Great, now trade John Lannan!!

Another_Sam said...

We are starved for baseball. Remember what live BP is, friends. LOL

SCNatsFan said...

Still, you can't help to get excited about the potential of this rotation. If - IF - Wang is back and is our #5 then that's a damn scary rotation to trot out there.

N. Cognito said...

Davey Johnson, Steve McCatty, Mikke Rizzo, Lee Kuntz.

Who cares what those bozos think. I'm waitin' to hear what Nats "Fat Finger" Jack says.

@3ms said...

I like "Fat Fingers Jack" better than "Never Done Jack". Just sayin.

Positively Half St. said...

I have been enjoying David Schoenfield's Sweet Spot column for ESPN a lot lately, especially because he is sympathetic to the Nats. Today he wrote something that I swear I have seen others do, as well. In discussing Wilson Ramos, he discussed how Ramos had to miss at-bats last year in favor of Pudge. Of course, he didn't write it that way. Instead, he wrote:

"the rotting corpse of Ivan Rodriguez received much of the playing time early on."

This is not the proper due respect for a likely Hall of Famer, but I have to admit it makes me laugh everytime somebody writes a variation of that. His point was that the extra at-bats for Ramos should result in a net-positive production for the Nats.

+1/2St.

Anonymous said...

Is it wrong that I'm more excited about Wang than Gio or Stras? If those two are great, it'll be good for the team and all that, but if they're great AND Wang does his worm killing, the Nats will surprise.

Mick said...

playoff baseball in DC??

Positively Half St. said...

You are not wrong, and I share your enthusiasm. Just be ready to be a skeptic magnet.

+1/2St.

SpingfieldNatsFan1 said...

With all the positive signs/potential of our pitching staff, I just hope our hitting can carry its share of the load. I hate to see another season of fine pitching efforts wasted with a bunch of no decisions.

Arlington BigFish said...

I'm with you, Springfield. I don't think I can take another season watching Werth & Desmond flailing at pitches in the dirt.

Gardner said...

I'd trade Ramos straight up for fewer than 5 other catchers in the majors - he's a helluva ball player. Go Nats!

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

Halfstreet, Chris Needham used to refer to him as "the reanimated corpse of Pudge Rodriquez" almost exclusively. Good line, but it did kinda get on my nerves, especially coming as it was from the reanimated corpse of Capitol Punishment, which as you might point out, ain't going into no Halls.

senators fan said...

There is no such thing as an "embarrassment of pitching riches.". See 2011 Red Sox. You never have enough pitching.

hokiepokster92 said...

Why is everyone so quick to deal Lannan? You're going to need more than 5 starting pitchers on this team with Strasburg's limited innings. Plus, injuries happen. Wang is no lock to pitch the entire season. You can never have too much pitching. Lannan is durable and is an innings eater.

Young Pitchers said...

Who's the better known Taiwanese athlete than Wang?

A DC Wonk said...

Anyone remember the constant carping on the Nats for continuing to play Wang towards the end of last season?

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

Young Pitchers, I think they mean Jeremy Lin, whose father is from Taiwan, tho he was born and raised in Cal.

NatinBeantown said...

Gardner,
Not agreeing or disagreeing, just curious who's on your list (I'm partial to catchers). Avila, Weiters? Napoli? Mauer?

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

... tho he, *JEREMY, was born and raised in Cal.

Pronoun balk.

NatinBeantown said...

Public Service Announcement: MLB At Bat 12 releases this Wednesday. It's the 2nd greatest thing on the internet for out-of-market NatsTowners.

Anonymous said...

Public Service Announcement: MLB At Bat 12 releases this Wednesday. It's the 2nd greatest thing on the internet for out-of-market NatsTowners.

The iPhone version of '11 was far worse than '10. Had to keep waving my phone around to get reception (didn't have to before) and it mostly would just give up and say the signal was too weak where the year before it almost always came in ...

Anonymous said...

And statistically? Wang pitched better than Lannan last year. Quite a bit better but he's a righty. As for Lannan so many (including Boz) think he is such a solid guy ... well you wait and see, mark my words, you will all be wishing he had been swapped for Tommy Milone.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

We would be happy to credit you, 10:57, except for that nagging issue of attribution.

Gardner said...

@NatsinBeantown - I'd take Posey, Mauer, Wieters, Avila - that's it

Whatsanattau said...

I absolutely love Ramos, but at a minimum you have to add McCann to that list and consider the trade off of defense for offense for guys like Napoli and Santana. Maybe Miguel Montero. Your praise of Ramos skill set is commendable but I don't think he's going to hit like those other guys. Still, he has a chance to be the best overall catcher in the NL someday.

NatsJack in Florida said...

And just a minor correction It's Nats "Fat Thumbs" Jack.

natsfan1a said...

Beantown, do you happen to get MLB Network? They did catchers on the "top 10 right now" countdown the other day. (Ramos was mentioned in the "players to watch" segment, btw.)

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