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Posted at 2:40 PM ET, 02/26/2011

Chien-Ming Wang throws his 'best stuff' of the spring, will pitch in games

By Adam Kilgore

wang smiling.jpg

Chien-Ming Wang continued to make progress this afternoon by throwing his most impressive pitches this spring in a live batting practice session. Wang pitched for 10 minutes, the same duration as the other Nationals pitchers, and he will throw in a minor league intrasquad game March 4.

Today, "that was the loosest his arm has been and the best stuff he's shown" all spring, General Manager Mike Rizzo said.

Wang's recent progress has forced him to amend his own goals. Before pitchers and catchers reported, Wang said he expected to begin the year on the disabled list, in a minor league rehab assignment. Now, Wang is aiming to start the season in the majors if the Nationals determine he deserves a spot.

Wang has seemingly recaptured the sinking action on his fastball that once helped him win 19 games in consecutive seasons for the New York Yankees. During his live batting practice session today - watched by front office assistant Bob Boone, pitching coach Steve McCatty, Manager Jim Riggleman and Rizzo - Wang broke Danny Espinosa's bat with one sinker and induced a slew of groundballs.

"He threw the ball good," McCatty said. "I've never seen him at 100 percent, so I can't say what 100 percent is. As long as he's feeling really good, that's the important thing. Because the ball still has good movement. ... I don't have a radar gun out there. It's not Cole Kimball, but the velocity is there every time. I'm happy with the progress that he's made."

In next week's game, Wang will throw one or two innings, depending on how he feels and how many pitches he throws.

Wang, 30, last pitched in a major league game on July 4, 2009. He underwent an uncommon, major shoulder surgery shortly thereafter, and he is nearing the end of the recovery process. After the Nationals signed Wang for $2 million last season and watched him never throw a pitch, they non-tendered him, then re-signed him for $1 million, plus incentives, this winter.

By Adam Kilgore  | February 26, 2011; 2:40 PM ET
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if he's back to form, that's an exciting development. I'd love classic Chien-Ming Wang in the 2012 rotation too - Strasburg, Zimmermann, Wang, Detwiler and Lannan? Works for me.

Posted by: Section406 | February 26, 2011 3:12 PM | Report abuse

2012 is a long ways off; If Wang is able to contirbute to the 2011 staff, then we can talk about the future.

Posted by: BinM | February 26, 2011 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Remember 10 days ago? After CMW's first session? People were calling his signing and contract a disaster.
It still is today exactly what it was then. A reasonable gamble on a professional baseball player with some decent upside. It might work out great, it might not work out at all, and of course it might end up somewhere in between. Just another example of the many things that just need to play out.

Posted by: Sunderland | February 26, 2011 5:03 PM | Report abuse

This club will have difficulty immproving its won and loss record as long as Rizzo is the GM and Riggleman is the manager.

Posted by: ohsotrue | February 27, 2011 5:54 AM | Report abuse

This club will have difficulty immproving its won and loss record as long as Rizzo is the GM and Riggleman is the manager.

Posted by: ohsotrue | February 27, 2011 5:54 AM | Report abuse


Under Rizzo and Riggleman this team improved by 10 games last season. What makes you think they won't continue to improve?

Posted by: CHAMP1464 | February 27, 2011 2:05 PM | Report abuse

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