Chien-Ming Wang will pitch a simulated game Wednesday in Viera, Fla., his biggest step forward yet in returning from a strained right hamstring. Wang will throw two simulated games before he begins a minor league rehab appearance, General Manager Mike Rizzo said.
Manager Davey Johnson has said he expects Wang to return by the end of April. The Nationals have yet to determine how many minor league rehab starts Wang will need, Rizzo said.
The Nationals want Wang, who has thrown live batting practice, to be able to throw 100 pitches by the time he returns to the rotation, but it may take less time than a typical pitcher’s rehab because Wang hurt his leg and not his arm.
“I don’t think we’re starting from ground zero,” Rizzo said. “But he needs to build up his arm strength again.”
The Nationals were highly impressed with Wang during spring training and want to move him into the rotation, but they have no motivation to rush him back. Ross Detwiler became their fifth starter, and he has allowed one earned run in 10 innings. They also have John Lannan in Class AAA Syracuse.
“We have the luxury, if you will, to really make sure that he’s 100 percent healthy and stretched out,” Rizzo said.