Chien-Ming Wang completed an uneven final rehab start with Class AAA Syracuse this afternoon in Scranton, allowing five earned runs in five innings while throwing 96 pitches, his highest total yet. Wang yielded eight hits, including a three-run homer in the second inning, and one walk while striking out five and throwing a wild pitch.
Wang began his 30-day rehab period June 27, meaning the Nationals will have to either promote him to the majors or designate him for assignment by the middle of this week. Wang will likely join the Nationals’ rotation and make his first major league since July 4, 2009 next weekend at Nationals Park against the Mets.
Wang, 31, has been recovering for more than two years since he underwent major surgery to repair a torn capsule in his right shoulder. The Nationals signed to a one-year contract in February 2010 for $2 million, and after he didn’t throw a single pitch in the majors or minors, they signed him again for $1 million this offseason.
Until this month, Wang’s attempts at climbing back to the majors sputtered, one setback surfacing after the next. When the Nationals first signed, they hoped he could be pitching in the majors in May 2010. Finally, though, Wang made one start and felt normal soreness the next day instead of debilitating pain. He induced groundballs against minor leaguers, like he once did for the New York Yankees, with whom he won 19 games and finished second in the Cy Young vote in 2006.
In total, Wang made six rehab starts at four different minor league levels, starting at Class A Hagerstown and working his way through the system. He yielded 10 earned runs in 28 2/3 innings, a 3.14 ERA, while allowing 28 hits, walking four and striking out 17 batters.