The Nationals announced Chien-Ming Wang as their probable starter for Friday’s game against the Mets at Nationals Park, bringing to an end Wang’s winding, painful odyssey back to the majors more than two years after he made his last big league start.
Wang, 31, finally finished rehabbing from major shoulder surgery Sunday afternoon, allowing five runs in five innings in a start for Class AAA Syracuse. In an ironic twist, he faced Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, the Class AAA affiliate of the New York Yankees, the team with which he spent the first five seasons of his career, flourishing for four of them and crashing in the injury-plagued fifth.
Wang made his last big league start July 4, 2009, finishing a brutal season in which he went 1-6 with a 9.64 ERA. He underwent surgery to repair a torn capsule in his rotator cuff and missed the rest of the season. The Nationals signed him to a one-year, $2 million in February 2010 with the hope he would pitch for them in May; he didn’t throw a pitch in the majors or minors all season.
Wang signed another one-year contract this year with the Nationals for $1 million, plus incentives. His comeback continued sputtering until a month ago, when he could, at last, take the mound one day and not feel debilitating soreness the next.
The Nationals can technically keep Wang on his 30-day minor league rehab assignment until Wednesday, so they will not have make a roster move until then. Unless the Nationals trade either Jason Marquis or Livan Hernandez before Wang’s arrival, they will likely move Tom Gorzelanny to the bullpen and a reliever to Class AAA or place Gorzelanny on the disabled list.