Washington Nationals right-hander Chien-Ming Wang threw three innings in an extended spring training game Monday, seemingly coming through it without issue. Wang faced the Detroit Tigers’ extended spring squad and needed 51 pitches (37 strikes) to get through the outing.
Wang allowed one earned run off five hits, didn’t walk a single batter and struck out three. It was the first step in Wang’s scheduled return from a left hamstring strain, suffered on March 15.
Wang will eventually need to go on a rehab assignment with one of the Nationals’ affiliates. When he does that, the Nationals will have 30 days for him to make rehab starts before they’re forced to add him to the active roster. It is believed that extended spring training games do not begin that clock, but it is not 100 percent clear.
Meanwhile the Nationals don’t seem to have a readily apparent spot in their rotation for the sinkerballer, who drew unanimous raves for the way he was throwing the ball before he was hurt in spring training. Ross Detwiler, who became the team’s fifth starter with Wang hurt and once John Lannan was optioned to the minor leagues, has a 0.56 ERA this season and has been exceptional, along with the rest of the Nationals’ starting five.
Asked last week if the Nationals could justify putting Detwiler in the bullpen when Wang is ready, manager Davey Johnson just shook his head and smiled. “I don’t want to think about it,” he said.
The Nationals still have several weeks to figure out how they’ll fit everything together.
– Double-A Harrisburg left-hander Danny Rosenbaum was named the Eastern League Pitcher of the Week on Monday, days after he became the first Harrisburg pitcher to throw a complete game since 2005.
Rosenbaum, who is not generally brought up in the conversation of the Nationals’ best prospects but has performed extremely well at each level of their system, threw nine innings over the Altoona Curve last Wednesday. He allowed four hits, one run (that was not earned) and struck out nine with under 100 pitches. At one point, Rosenbaum had retired 13 straight batters. He struck out four of the final seven batters he faced.
Rosenbaum is 2-0 with a 1.25 ERA and 16 strikeouts thus far at Harrisburg in 21 2/3 innings pitched. Following in the footsteps of the farm system’s last left-hander with impeccable control, Tommy Milone, Rosenbaum has not issued a walk yet this season. Milone was traded to Oakland this winter as part of the package for Gio Gonzalez and is the No. 3 starter in the A’s rotation this season.