Taiwanese pitcher Wang Chien-ming (王建民) yesterday said he hoped to return to Major League Baseball (MLB) next year, but added that he has no problem being a relief pitcher at his new minor league team.
The 34-year-old former MLB starting pitcher signed a minor league contract with the Atlanta Braves last week.
Prior to joining the Braves, Wang spent the past season at the Chicago White Sox’s Triple-A team. He was in the starting lineup in 28 games and pitched a 4.12 ERA in 172-2/3 innings without sustaining any injuries.
Photo: Lin Cheng-king, Taipei Times
Yet despite his performance, Wang did not get called up to the major leagues.
“The most difficult part was waiting for the opportunity to come. I was not feeling particularly down [about not being called up]. I just wanted to fulfill my dream, but it is not like you can just go [to the MLB] if you want to. You have to keep working hard for that opportunity,” Wang told a news conference in Taipei yesterday.
Though the opportunity that Wang was looking for did not come this year, the pitcher said he never thought of playing in the professional leagues in Taiwan or Japan instead.
“I believe I am on my way from the minor leagues to the majors,” he said.
Throughout the news conference, Wang reiterated his hope of returning to the MLB in perfect condition next year.
Last year, Wang said he would give himself two more years in the US to make it back into the majors, meaning that next year would be the Tainan native’s last chance for a potential comeback.
Also yesterday, the Braves acquired 24-year-old pitcher Shelby Miller in a trade with the St Louis Cardinals. Many interpreted the swap as bad news for Wang, saying Miller would make it more difficult for him to be listed on the starting pitchers roster.
In response, Wang said he had no problem adjusting to the role of relief pitcher.
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