Mon, May 02, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Taiwanese rookie pitcher impresses in Yankees victory


Wang Chien-ming's (王建民) Major League debut for the New York Yankees on Saturday was a big success, even though he was not the winning pitcher in the 4-3 Yankees victory.

The 190cm right-hander from Tainan, who became the second Taiwan-born pitcher (after Tsao Chin-hui [曹錦輝] with the Colorado Rockies) to start in the majors was rock solid in his first big league outing, allowing two runs on six singles over seven strong innings of play against the Toronto Blue Jays on a wet afternoon at Yankee Stadium in New York.

Wang retired the first 10 bat-ters he faced before surrendering a single in the bottom of the fourth to Orlando Hudson.

Up 3-0, the 25-year-old rookie allowed a pair of runs in the fifth when Eric Hinske led off the inning with a single and scored on Russ Adam's ground-ball out to first, two batters later.

Alex Rios would score on the ensuing play when Frank Catalanotto just beat out the throw to first for an infield single.

Accolades from his teammates filled the clubhouse following the game as the Yankees celebrated the win.

"He [Wang] made it look pretty easy," Yankees pitcher Mike Mussina said. "Maybe we're all trying too hard and we should just go out and do what he did. He looked pretty good."

Even A-Rod was pleased.

"He [Wang] was so poised out there, especially here at the Stadium," third baseman Alex Rodriguez said. "It was a nice lift, and hopefully it can bring some energy here for a while."

Wang left the game with a 3-2 lead after the seventh inning and saw fellow reliever Tom Gordon yielding a game-tying solo homer to Corey Koskie in the eighth to deny him the chance for the victory.

"It would be nice to have the win, but I'm not going to worry about it too much," Wang said during a video press conference with local reporters yesterday.

"There will be a next time," he said.

He gave himself a "B" for his first pitching performance in the majors, which included mostly his 150kph-plus fastball and a two-seamed sinker, along with a couple of splitters and sliders.

Wang came into the game well prepared.

"I was able to look at the tapes from Randy Johnson's game [on Friday] to get ready for this game," Wang said.

The Yankees' coaching staff gave Wang a 100-pitch limit without a preset number of innings to play.

He ended up throwing 81 pitches over seven frames with an impressive 54-27, strike-to-ball ratio.

Manager Joe Torre was pleased with his Taiwanese import, referring to Wang's performance as "the best start by a rookie for the Yankees since I took over as manager in 1996."

On hand to witness Wang's debut were his parents and wife Wu Jia-ling (吳嘉姈).

"Wang was great in my opinion," Wu told reporters during the video conference. "I'd give him a perfect score for what he did out there."

The Wang family will have more than a great memory of this special day to share when they return to Taiwan, because Wang Chien-ming was handed a gift from the Yankees' manager -- the starting lineup card for the game autographed by Joe Torre.

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