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Posted at 5:44 PM ET, 02/17/2011

With Chien-Ming Wang, the Nationals probably won't get their wish

By Adam Kilgore

More than a dozen Nationals pitchers threw bullpen sessions today, Chien-Ming Wang among them. Wang will be watched closely this spring as he tries to pitch in the majors for the first time since July 2009. Today, he looked to be as far from away from a big league mound as he believes he is, not as close as the Nationals had hoped.

Still recovering from a unique and major shoulder surgery that took place almost 20 months ago, Wang threw softly in his fifth bullpen session of the spring. He has been in Viera for two weeks in preparation, but he has made clear he wants to move slowly. On Monday, he said he expects to begin the regular in the minor leagues, building up stamina and strength in his arm.


"If that's what he says, than I certainly have to expect that," Manager Jim Riggleman said. "Initially, I think through the winter we kind of felt he would be in spring training competing for a job. But, again, we want to be really conservative. Usually, it's the player who's telling you otherwise. They're trying to speed the process up. In this case, if he's willing to slow it down, I know we will be."

Though the low level of intensity in Wang's session indicated he has a long way to go, the Nationals liked what the saw. "I thought he threw the ball good," pitching coach Steve McCatty said. "First day, I thought he looked fine."

The real test for Wang will come tomorrow, when his shoulder has recovered from today's throwing.

"The next day is when we really want to check him out," Riggleman said. "How do you feel after sleeping that night? We'll get a little more information about that tomorrow."

This offseason, the Nationals non-tendered Wang and then signed him to a one-year, $1 million contract that could worth up to $5 million with incentives.

By Adam Kilgore  | February 17, 2011; 5:44 PM ET
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Yes, lots of the Natinal players themselves, along with even more (or as "more" as you can get having a fanbase of 240 people) Natinal fans really really really like Wang.....

Hahahahahhahahaha. Funny that the Natinals and their fans were counting on this guy. Typical Natinals.

The O's starters blow the Natinals starters out of the water. No question.

Oh, did I have the proper they're/their/there used above, blog grammar-police? Hahahahahahahahha

Posted by: P00PY_MCP00P | February 17, 2011 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Wanted to be the first sane person to respond - yes, I would love to see Wang return to the form he showed when winning 19 games two seasons in a row (wonder if there is a poster here that remembers that?) - I am actually ok with him taking it slow, I am sure there will be plenty of doubters and people piling on for another poor decision by the nationals FO but he signed for one million dollars which I think is a decent gamble. If he can throw lights out for 4 months or even 3 I think it was money well spent. Our problems with injuries in the past were from young guys refusing to disclose what was wrong, at least Wang has the maturity to let them know what he wants to do.

Go Nats

Posted by: sjm3091 | February 17, 2011 6:21 PM | Report abuse

It was not a poor decision. Given what he used to be. Clearly, he may never be the same pitcher. This is not a starter you can rely on this year and perhaps next. The best bet at this point may be a bullpen role.

@sjm3091, the problem is many here pegged Wang higher on the rotation totem pole than Gorzelanny and Maya. Gorzelanny actually had double digit quality starts last year even though a lot of his year was spent in the bullpen. He throws between 92-94 on the average. Maya appears to have shaken the rust off. But Wang?

No, Wang was a gamble but a decent one. No one should complain.

Posted by: periculum | February 17, 2011 6:26 PM | Report abuse

And Poopy? Its the O's starters that will soon be donning the pin stripes not Stras or any Nationals starter. If the Orioles have good young starters your good pal Angel-holio will soon sell them off to the crazy Ivan descendants of Steinbrenner.


Posted by: periculum | February 17, 2011 6:28 PM | Report abuse

The Wang situation is a disaster cut your loses Rizzo and work out a settlement with this guy(if you can)this whole thing has been about as embarrasing as it can be right along with the Marquis deal.

Posted by: dargregmag | February 17, 2011 7:20 PM | Report abuse

The Wang situation is a disaster cut your loses Rizzo and work out a settlement with this guy(if you can)this whole thing has been about as embarrasing as it can be right along with the Marquis deal.

Posted by: dargregmag | February 17, 2011 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Sorry about the double post!

Posted by: dargregmag | February 17, 2011 7:21 PM | Report abuse

At the rate Wang's rehab seems to be going, he looks to be ready to slide into the rotation around the time that Jordan Zimmermann hits his innings limit. If and when that happens, Rizzo will be looking like a genius.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 17, 2011 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Initial gut reaction on the reports regarding Wang in Viera - The Nationals wait until late March to make the final decision, but if he isn't at 85-90% of arm speed & strength by then, he gets cut.

Shoulder rebuilds are the worst injury to come back from for a pitcher. Wang had the surgery back in July-August 2009; That's over 18 months ago. Might be near time to cut bait on this one, imo.

Posted by: BinM | February 17, 2011 7:50 PM | Report abuse

This is not a disaster. It ain't great of course, but it's a relatively small amount of money, and last year it didn't even take up a roster spot with Wang on the 60 day DL. They could move him to the 60 day DL March 31, again opening up his roster spot, and if he ever gets healthy enough to pitch, he can do 30 days of rehab starts.
I'm not counting on Wang for nothing this year, just like last year.

Posted by: Sunderland | February 17, 2011 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Hey Trol, go spread your fecal matter on some Ori-Blows blog. Don't feed the garbage pail folks!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | February 17, 2011 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't there a quote from a scout about his stuff being "filthy" back in the fall when he was playing in the gulf coast league. Wa hoppen?

Posted by: brianbu | February 17, 2011 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Totally agree this is not a disaster, a disaster is what happened with the Orioles and their first base situation last year (can't remember his name but I think they cut him). Wang has not taken a roster spot, did not cost a lot of money and its a decent gamble. What is the disaster??. Marquis was injured, nothing you can do about that, it happens all the time. If he comes back strong this year we will at least get a guy who can eat innings. We have made mistakes but not many disasters.

Posted by: sjm3091 | February 17, 2011 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Pants signed him to two contracts. And he can't even lift his arm. Two more reasons to punt pants. Dude really is handicapped, because he's not qualified to assess pitching. That's 90% of his job.. He thinks the old rotation is good. The guy has no idea how to evaluate pitching and roles.

Posted by: Brue | February 17, 2011 11:31 PM | Report abuse

"It was not a poor decision. Given what he used to be. Clearly, he may never be the same pitcher. This is not a starter you can rely on this year and perhaps next."

Periculum, when the eff will he play? Probably NEVER!

Oriole Magic here it happen!

Posted by: break20 | February 18, 2011 2:02 AM | Report abuse

I agree with brianbu, who was the reporter quoting the scout about the filth Wang was throwing? This is nuts. Drew Brees had the same surgery and went to the Super Bowl a year later. This guy can barely wave and it's been 2 years. The next couple weeks should be interesting because on paper, it looks like the Nats rotation is going to get torched this year. If Livan is going to be your ace (again).........sheesh

Posted by: weissa | February 18, 2011 10:53 AM | Report abuse

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