Nationals uncertain about Chien-Ming Wang's debut
The Nationals know that Chien-Ming Wang will throw live batting practice in Viera, Fla., on Friday, when he will fire 45 pitches from a mound in his second such session of rehab from shoulder surgery. Anything beyond that, they remain as uncertain as they have been all along in regard to Wang's status.
The Nationals originally hoped Wang would make his 2010 debut in mid-June. While he has not experienced any setbacks, the Nationals have not been able to target a return date because of the unique nature of his injury, General Manager Mike Rizzo said. Wang suffered a shoulder dislocation more typical for a football player, Rizzo said, similar to the injury Drew Brees overcame.
"It's a little difficult to pinpoint a true rehab schedule for a baseball player," Rizzo said. "We have that issue. He doesn't have any pain. It's just such a unique surgery that he had that any kind of rehab calendar would have been hard to get. There's not much experience with this injury."
The Nationals are not even certain of Wang's upcoming rehab schedule, let alone when he may return. Last week, Wang's representative said Wang was hoping to debut by early August. Rizzo, though, said it's not possible to know exactly.
"It changes day by day," Rizzo said. "It's all about how you feel the next day. You move forward, you stay the same or you regress. So far he's stayed the same and inched forward. We're hoping he can stay on that pace."
Rizzo still expects Wang to pitch in the majors for the Nationals this season. That will be important for Wang's future with the team. The Nationals signed Wang to a one-year contract, and they have the option to offer him arbitration for next season. One of the reasons they signed him after such serious surgery was in the hopes of getting a healthy Wang in 2011.
"We'd like to see him perform in the major leagues," Rizzo said.
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