Despite pitching into the ninth inning this afternoon in a rehab appearance at Class AAA Syracuse, Chien-Ming Wang will make at least one more rehab. Manager Davey Johnson said the Nationals want to make sure Wang can bounce back from a long start. But they are also buying time to decide how he fits into their crowded rotation.
Wang’s 30-day rehab period will end May 27. At that point, the Nationals will have to choose how Wang affects their rotation. The most likely solution would be moving fifth starter Ross Detwiler to the bullpen, but then Detwiler has a 2.10 ERA in six starts.
Keep in mind: The Nationals cannot trade Edwin Jackson or Wang without their consent until June 16 because they both signed as free agents this offseason.
Johnson was able to watch Wang’s start, and he saw the same form Wang had in spring training. Late in the game, Johnson thought, Wang was still throwing quality strikes with plenty of movement. Wang allowed four runs on 11 hits and a walk in eight-plus innings.
“I think he’s real close,” Johnson said. “That’s going to be a decision left up to [General Manager Mike] Rizzo. 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? That was a big step in the right direction. It depends how he recovers from that, I would think. For sure, we want to see him go back out and throw the same kind of ballgame, that’s not having a tired arm or something like that, which you sometimes come out of your spring with. But he looked good to me.”