LOS ANGELES — For the first time since July 4, 2009, Chien-Ming Wang is listed as a probable pitcher for a major league team.
Wang, who pitched five innings in his final rehab start this afternoon, is listed as the Nationals starter Friday, July 29 against the New York Mets. The start will culminate a long, arduous rehab process for the former 19-game winner for the New York Yankees.
Wang’s season ended after that July 4 start in 2009 and he underwent surgery for a torn shoulder capsule shortly thereafter. The Nationals hoped they could nurse him back to health and signed him to a one-year, $2 million deal before the 2010 season. It was a lost year for both Wang and the team but the Nationals opted not to give up and instead signed him to another one-year deal, this one for $1 million and incentive-laden in the hopes that they’d have better luck in 2011.
After making six rehab starts that crossed every level of the Nationals minor league system, Wang’s rehab assignment will run out on July 27. His health is no longer considered an issue and he reached 96 pitches on Sunday, the most he’d thrown, though giving up five earned runs in the process.
Over the course of his month-long rehab, Wang is 2-1 with a 3.14 ERA in 28 2/3 innings pitched. The Nationals will slide him into their rotation but have yet to announce how they’ll clear the space for him there. They have until Wednesday to do so and have several options at their disposal, especially if a trade were to pop up for one of their veteran starters between now and then. Otherwise, Tom Gorzelanny is a candidate to be moved from the rotation to the bullpen, which would most likely ship Ross Detwiler back to Triple-A, but there are always ways the team can get creative.
Either way, Wang will make a monumental return when he steps on the mound Friday night in Washington, one over two years in the making.