Taiwanese pitcher Wang Chien-ming (王建民) had a tryout for scouts at the New York Yankees’ minor league complex in Tampa, Florida, on Wednesday in a bid to get a new contract from his former team, foreign media have reported.
Andy McCullough of the Newark, New Jersey-based Star-Ledger was the first to tweet that the US Major League Baseball free agent was trying out, although foreign news outlets had reported that the Yankees were interested in signing him after he pitched 12 scoreless innings for Taiwan in the World Baseball Classic (WBC) earlier this month.
“We’ve talked to him for quite some time and he’s agreed to work out for our people,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was quoted as saying by sports broadcaster ESPN.
“We saw enough from him in the WBC to bring him in for a further look, “ he said, adding that the scouts were impressed by Wang’s fastball, which reaches speeds of about 150kph.
The 32-year old right-hander, who was released last year by his former team, the Washington Nationals, had 55-26 with a 4.16 ERA in five seasons for the Yankees between 2005 and 2009.
He recorded 19 wins in consecutive seasons, but suffered a foot injury in 2008 from which he never fully recovered before leaving the team.
Alan Chang (張嘉元), Wang’s agent, played his cards close to his chest, saying that many teams have been pursuing the pitcher since his WBC performance, but added that there was no timetable for a decision. The Major League Baseball season is set to begin on March 31.
The media reports say that although Wang would prefer to return to major league play with the Yankees, the team intends to offer him a deal in the minor leagues.
“We have some vacancies in the rotation in [Triple-A] Scranton, so we’re exploring all our options, and he showed interest in coming back. He had a great time with us and if he has to do a minor league deal, he’d probably rather do it here,” Cashman told ESPN.
However, unconfirmed reports by local media say that Wang had signed a contract on Wednesday with the Yankees.
The local reports also say he will not be starting in the Major League, but has been have promised a position in a Triple-A affiliate.
There will be no official announcement of the contract until the details are finalized, but an official announcement was expected soon.
Additional reporting by Cheng Yu-chia