HOUSTON — Chien-Ming Wang’s sordid injury history grew longer on Wednesday when the right-hander was pulled off his rehab assignment with continued soreness in his right hip and will remain on the disabled list for the time being.
Wang’s current rehab assignment for a right hip strain was set to expire on Aug. 11 and the Nationals, who don’t appear to have room for him in their starting rotation or bullpen, were going to be forced to make a decision on the future of the sinkerballer. Wang would have had to be added to the 25-man roster or designated for assignment.
But Wang, who gave up six earned runs off seven hits and two walks in Tuesday night in Double-A, had a recurrence of the hip soreness that landed him on the disabled list on July 3, a team spokesman said. If Wang remains on the disabled list until after Sept. 1, the Nationals will not have to make a move to clear space for him as rosters will have expanded for the season’s final month.
Wang, who spent two years rehabbing a torn shoulder capsule and didn’t pitch for the Nationals until late in the 2011 season despite signing with them for the first time in Feb. 2010, looked to be off to a promising start in spring training this year. Then a hamstring strain derailed his chances of making the opening day roster and his return to the active roster May 22 was largely unsuccessful.
Since signing with the team in 2010, Wang has made 15 major league starts and 17 minor league rehab starts.
Wang appeared in seven games for the Nationals this season, starting four, but struggled with delivery issues throughout the month-plus he was on the active roster. He had a 7.61 ERA when he went back on the disabled list with the hip issue. The team believed the issue was part of the reason Wang’s arm seemed to be lagging behind the rest of his body when he was delivering a pitch, leading his pitches to stay up in the zone.
The Nationals still believe that, if healthy, he can be a valuable part of their team, especially after Stephen Strasburg is shut down in September but the challenge, as it seems to have always been for Wang since he put on a Nationals uniform, is getting healthy.