Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wang ready to return

US Presswire file photo
Chien-Ming Wang is close to returning to the Nationals' rotation.
Rehabbing right-hander Chien-Ming Wang threw a bullpen session in front of Nationals coaches today and declared himself ready to rejoin the big-league staff now, though he'll defer to the club's plan to have him make at least one more start for Class AAA Syracuse.

"I'm ready," Wang said through interpreter John Hsu. "But I need to follow the direction from the team."

Out since mid-March with a pulled hamstring, Wang has made four rehab starts at three levels of the Nationals' farm system, capped by Monday's outing at Syracuse in which he pitched into the ninth inning.

Stamina-wise, the veteran hurler believes he's ready to start a big-league game. The Nationals, though, have been trying to delay his return as long as possible and thus delay having to decide which member of their rotation will lose his job as a result.

Manager Davey Johnson said Wang will make another start for Syracuse (Saturday night at Toledo). His 30-day rehab stint must end no later than May 27, so Wang could possibly start one more minor-league game before that.

"I really liked what I'm seeing," said Johnson, who watched Wang's last start on television. "Giving him that other start I think is going to get him a little bit stronger, so when he comes in, he'll come in kind of on an even keel with everybody else. Everybody else in the starting rotation is throwing the heck out of it. There's no real rush to make that change."

Left-hander Ross Detwiler is the most-likely candidate to move from the rotation to the bullpen upon Wang's return, though veteran right-hander Edwin Jackson has pitched in relief before.

Wang understands the effect his activation off the disabled list will have on his teammates.

"It's really tough for me," he said. "All of them and I, we're close. As a teammate, I really don't want to see that kind of situation. But, like I said, I still need to follow the team, no matter what happens. Maybe they want me to be a bullpen guy. That's what I've got to do."

Wang has pitched in relief five times in his career (once a piece in 2005 and 2006, three times in 2009) and said he could do it if asked, though he would need extra time to warm up before entering the game.

Johnson didn't entirely rule out the possibility, but he sounded pretty committed to keeping Wang in a starting role.

"I mean, I love his stuff," the manager said. "He's got a great sinker. I love bringing a sinkerballer into the ballgame. But I look at him as a quality starter."


Zach said...

Note to the pitching staff: Keep icy hot away from Wang.

NatsLady said...

I like his attitude. If John Lannan had that attitude he wouldn't be riding buses in Syracuse, Ryan Perry would, and the problem would be even more difficult.

SonnyG10 said...

I guess it will be Detwiler that goes to the pen, but I really don't like any of the options at this point. Glad I don't have to make the decision.

UnkyD said...

Didn't know Jax had ant BP experience.... Det being LH has to play into the decision, as well, doesn't it?

peric said...

EJax is on a one year. Wang is on a one year. Looks to me like its between those two.

Now that Detwiler has finally (like JZimm) proven that he can crank out quality starts and be effective its not the time to shut him down and send him to the bullpen. Just the opposite. And Davey knows that. Detwiler is a big part of future whether as a consistent slot in the rotation or as a tradable commodity.

Now, EJax, a guy who likely won't be with the team next year? And, perhaps, a potential trade in July.

休斯 said...

Wang is the guy we need. Wang is good at "winning" rather than producing outstanding pitcher statistics such as Ks, WHIP, or Hits. But he is definitely a guy who knows how to keep the team in the game and to win by his low pitching counts.

peric said...

Det being LH has to play into the decision, as well, doesn't it?

Definitely, its why Davey brought him up from Syracuse after Riggleman resigned. The more left-handed power pitcher starters the better.

peric said...

Wang is the guy we need. Wang is good at "winning" rather than producing outstanding pitcher statistics such as Ks, WHIP, or Hits.

The caveat, or other shoe falling? That was way back in 2007 when Tom Gorzelanny was the Pittsburgh Pirate's ace.

Theophilus T. S. said...

Tell Jackson he's the second coming of John Smoltz/Dennis Eckersley and see if he can close until Storen is ready.

Theophilus T. S. said...

Not to mention that both Smoltz and Eckersley (in particular) had great (in Eckersley's case, outstanding) control. Other than that, Jackson qualifies . . ..

Section 222 said...

Having two power lefties in the rotation is a really good thing, and also works well with having Gorzo (L) and Stammen (R) in the bullpen as long relievers. I wouldn't be surprised to see Jackson in the pen for a bit, but filling in as a spot starter to give the other five an extra day's rest every now and then.

Dr Trea (formerly #werthquake) said...

Scott Boras would flip sh*t if we put his client, whom is looking for a big contract after this year, in the bullpen.

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