Chien-Ming Wang walked into the Nationals clubhouse this morning, dripping with sweat, thrilled about his previous 24 hours. Saturday night, Wang had thrown four scoreless innings at Class A Potomac. This morning, he came to Nationals Park for only the second time. He played catch in the outfield, and his surgically repaired shoulder still felt strong.
“He looks great,” General Manager Mike Rizzo said. “Doesn’t he?”
Sometime this week, Wang will make his third minor league rehab start, his first at Class AA Harrisburg. Saturday night, Wang allowed two hits and walked none, hitting 91 miles per hour with his best fastball. Wang feels better now than at any point in the past two years – he last pitched in the majors on July 4, 2009, with the New York Yankees.
“I’m almost there,” Wang said.
Wang, 31, has been rehabbing with the Nationals since February 2010, when they signed him to a one-year deal worth $2 million. The Nationals gave Wang another one-year, incentive-laded contract worth $1 million this offseason.
Wang really could make his first major league appearance for the Nationals soon. Wang made his first rehab start June 27, and the Nationals have only 30 days before they have to either bring him to the majors or put him back on the disabled list. Rizzo said the Nationals expect Wang to make his major league return by the end of the rehab.