Taiwanese pitcher Wang Chien-ming will start tomorrow for the Washington Nationals as the team’s fifth starter, Nationals manager Davey Johnson said on Saturday in Atlanta.
“It’s a tough decision, but I think it’s best for the whole ballclub,” Johnson said after an 8-4 victory for the Nationals against the Atlanta Braves that day.
The move means Wang will start against the Florida Marlins, while left-hander Ross Detwiler will be sent to the bullpen as a long reliever.
The Taiwanese right-hander had surgery for a shoulder injury in 2009 and practiced for two years before eventually staging a comeback to the major league last year.
He was slated to start the season as the team’s fifth starter until he was injured again during spring training.
Wang made his season debut on Friday as a reliever in the fifth after Johnson pulled Ross Detwiler out of the game. Wang pitched well, allowing one run in three innings.
However, performance is not the major determining factor for deciding which player should stay in the rotation, according to the Nationals’ official Web site.
Johnson said he needed to determine who fits better in the bullpen.
“You really don’t want to tax him when he is just coming back fully from the two years when he was down from the major surgery,” Johnson said about Wang.
“It would be very hard for me to handle a [former] 19-game winner, who made a great comeback from arm surgery, to have him in the bullpen,” he said.
Wang has reportedly signed a US$4 million deal this off-season to serve as a starter, and the Nationals had a hard time justifying using him any other way, reported the Washington Times.