Wed, May 16, 2012 - Page 20 News List

Wang pitches well, but his future remains uncertain

Staff writer, with CNA, Washington

Taiwanese pitcher Wang Chien-ming was impressive again in a rehab start in the minors on Monday, but he could still have a hard time squeezing into the Washington Nationals’ crowded rotation.

Wang pitched into the ninth inning for the Syracuse Chiefs in a 6-4 win over the Rochester Red Wings, giving up four runs on 11 hits, but only two runs over the first eight innings. He received a standing ovation when he exited the game with a 6-2 lead and two Red Wings on base.

“I saw him pitch and he looked awful good,” Nationals manager Davey Johnson was quoted as saying. “That was a big step in the right direction. It depends how he recovers from that. The question really comes down to: Is he polished off enough to come in and replace one of our starters and give us the same type of effort?”

Wang’s performance in Triple-A has not guaranteed him a spot in the Nationals’ starting rotation because they already have five starters who all have ERAs under 4.00 — four with ERAs under 3.00 — and Johnson has said the team does not need a sixth starter.

The decision of whether to put Wang back in the rotation is up to Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, Johnson said.

Wang’s 30-day rehab period in the minor leagues ends on May 27, at which time the Nationals have to decide what to do with Wang and make a decision on their rotation.

Trading him is not likely to be an immediate option, as the Nationals cannot trade Wang without his consent until June 16 because he was signed as a free agent.

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