Saturday, May 19, 2012

Wang likely to bullpen upon return

Chien-Ming Wang will likely pitch out of the Nationals' bullpen once he comes off the disabled list next week, manager Davey Johnson said today.

Johnson's decision to use Wang as a reliever comes as a surprise, given the manner in which the Nationals have talked up the veteran right-hander and suggested all along he would not be a good fit in the bullpen.

The emergence of left-hander Ross Detwiler, though, all but forced the Nationals into making this unconventional move. Detwiler, who makes his eighth start of the season tonight against the Orioles, is 3-2 with a 2.75 ERA.

"Detwiler has pitched himself into a role as one of the main guys, not only this year but for the future here," Johnson said. "Everybody says it's a good problem to have, but probably not for the questions I'm going to get asked in this room. Because there's no easy choice."

Wang, who re-signed with the Nationals as a free agent in November for $4 million, was a projected member of the Opening Day rotation until he pulled his hamstring trying to make a play at first base in mid-March. He's been on the DL since, but his 30-day minor-league rehab assignment must end by May 27.

Wang is scheduled to start tonight for Class AAA Syracuse at Toledo, his fifth rehab appearance. Johnson said he'll make one more start before coming off the DL and then taking over a long relief role with the Nationals.

"When he comes up, I will probably start him in the bullpen," the manager said. "That's probably the easiest no-decision. But I don't look at him as a reliever. I look at him as a quality, major-league starter."

The Nationals will take some precautions with Wang, using him on more of a starter's schedule and giving him extra time to warm up before entering games.

During a brief stop at Nationals Park earlier this week, the 32-year-old suggested he would be open to pitching out of the bullpen. He's made five career relief appearances, all with the Yankees, and admits it wouldn't be the easiest transition.

"It might be a question," Wang said through interpreter John Hsu. "But I would like to try, and I would like to help."

18 comments:

original Nats Fan said...

I wish him all the best. He's worked so hard to come back from injury.

stoat said...

He would be the guy to go to for a double-play ball, but that doesn't sound like the kind of situation he will be used in.

sm13 said...

Rizzo and Davey sure are unpredictable. I'm really glad for Det. He's performed above expectations as a starter and certainly didn't deserve a demotion to the pen.

UnkyD said...

Wow....

NatsNut said...

That's kinda cool. What a good sport!

A Home of Consumer Researcher said...

Davey made this point today might to let Det feel less pressure for tonight's start. But...I still think any schedule is changeable. Let's see how it goes when Wang comes back..

Mr. Doggett said...

I think Davey is all about rewarding players for good performances. What mire could he have asked from his 5th starter? Makes sense to be loyal to Det. Wang being supportive of this move is crucial. Our bullpen is that much better AND we have some great insurance if one of the Illustrious 5 goes down.

JaneB said...

I'm glad I don't have Davey's job.

On the other hand, I DO wish I had Bud Selig's job. Then MASN would have forked over the dough they owe the Nats by now. There would be no more DL and various other improvements.

Welcome back up, CMW. Stay healthy.

phil dunton said...

Detwiler may be making Davey's job easy. He seems to be pitching his way out of the rotation.

NatsFanJim said...

Hey Phil: How low do you think Wang's era is going to be? Less than Dets? haha Wang will throw his usual 3.50 + e.r.a. See you in the bullpen, Wang.

Davey has been "hanging" with under performers all season e.g., Nady, Espi, and a few others -- glad to see that he is rewarding a player for doing well.

Davey is a mess -- by my reckoning, Davey's managing or lack thereof, may have cost us 2 games at least -- perhaps more.

Send Davey back to the front office.

Bigfish said...

Given Detwiler's last 2 performances (counting tonight), I'm with Phil.

Tcostant said...

Just stupid, let Wang start until he shows you he can't do the job.

A Home of Consumer Researcher said...

I think Davey needs to rethink about his earlier decision after today's Det and Wang game. Both of them are pitching as they were before. Wang had 8 ground outs with 1d double play. Were it not for the dramatic 7 stole bases by inexperienced catcher, Wang would not allow 4 runs because more double plays should happen!

SonnyG10 said...

If Detwiler stays in the rotation, he'll be on a short leash for sure.

Gonat said...

When I suggested Wang to the pen before, that idea was shot down quickly by NatsLady. She could certainly be right and it will be interesting if it happens. After another Dudwiler performance tonight if could be Dudwiler to the pen.

natsfan1a said...

Dudwiler? The last two outings are a concern, and I'm not the guy's biggest fan, but weren't you saying the other day that name calling is over the top?

Obviously it didn't happen in 2011 due to the injury, but the way people make it so personal with the name calling is just over the top.

Gonat said...

natsfan1a, calling someone LaDouche is offensive. Lets say Detwiler threw a dud.

natsfan1a said...

I can agree with both of those statements. :-)

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