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Posted at 1:26 PM ET, 02/19/2011

Chien-Ming Wang shows 'real positive' improvement

By Adam Kilgore

wang press con.jpg

On Thursday, Chien-Ming Wang threw bullpen session that validated the most pessimistic view of his current state. His pitches were relatively slow. His ball didn't move much. While he threw beside five teammates, he stood out for the wrong reasons.

Just two days later, Wang produced one of the most promising workouts of his Nationals tenure. His sinker dropped. The catcher's mitt popped a few times. By no stretch of the imagination did Wang look like the best version of himself, and it was still just a bullpen session in February. But Wang's showing today encouraged the Nationals staff; Manager Jim Riggleman said it was "the best he's thrown" with the Nationals that Riggleman has seen.

"Today was a real positive thing," pitching coach Steve McCatty said. "He was much better. I thought he threw the ball very good."

Wang felt no soreness Friday morning in his surgically repaired right shoulder after his last bullpen session, a positive sign that may have given him confidence to throw harder today.

"I felt more strong," Wang said. "My motion was more smooth. It was a big difference."

Wang, who signed a one-year deal with the Nationals this offseason, has said he expects he'll start the regular season on the disabled list, building up innings in the minors. The Nationals, though, are still hoping for him to compete for a spot in the rotation.

"I haven't heard that that was the plan," McCatty said. "That's coming from him. He didn't hear that from me. We'll see how it goes."

By Adam Kilgore  | February 19, 2011; 1:26 PM ET
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awesome. they are all on the same page re: wang

Posted by: CF11555 | February 19, 2011 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Why are they wasting a spot for this guy?? He will never pitch again in the majors. Sounds like he has a confidence issue.

Posted by: skinsnatscapsterps | February 19, 2011 3:18 PM | Report abuse

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