The Nationals’ most delightful problem of having too many starting pitchers is getting closer to coming to a head.
Friday night, Chien-Ming Wang allowed one earned run over six innings at Class A Hagerstown during his second minor league appearance. Wang struck out seven while allowing three hits – including a home run – and walking one. The Nationals planned for Wang to throw 75 pitches.
Wang may only need one more rehab start before he becomes ready to join the Nationals and finish his recovery from the strained left hamstring he sustained March 15 while covering first base during a spring training.
The Nationals believe Wang has returned to the form that made him one of the best pitchers in baseball before he underwent shoulder surgery in 2009. His cannonball sinker is back in the low-90s, and his breaking balls are better than ever.
But the Nationals must decide how he fits. The original plan was to move Ross Detwiler to the bullpen. But that would leave the Nationals with only one left-hander in the rotation, and Detwiler is 3-1 with a 1.59 ERA over five starts. Edwin Jackson, sitting at 3.69, is the only Nationals starter with an ERA over 2.00.