While Chien-Ming Wang showed progress yesterday with a bullpen session, Manager Jim Riggleman acknowledged the obvious when he said there is “no way” Wang will be ready for the start of the regular.
Wang, in the final stages of a recovery process from major shoulder surgery that took place in July 2009, had encouraged the Nationals with some performances earlier in the spring. But after he experienced tightness in his shoulder during a minor league intrasquad game last week, Wang, who signed a one-year deal this winter for $1 million plus incentives, virtually eliminated himself from the competition to become the team’s initial fifth starter.
“For a starting pitcher, there’s no way we’ll get him stretched out,’ Riggleman said. “Until Steve McCatty tells me there’s not only progress, but consistent progress for a couple progress for a couple weeks, then we’ll think about that. You can’t get too high or low about a bullpen session.”
While Henry Rodriguez will make his debut today, the other visa-delayed, hard-throwing reliever in camp is struggling. Rule 5 pick Elvin Ramirez has experienced arm trouble shut down his throwing on the side and won’t appear in his first game for at least a week, likely longer.
Since Ramirez was taken (from the Mets) in the Rule 5 pick, the Nationals need to use the spring in order to decide if they want to keep him on their 25-man roster for the whole season or attempt to work out a trade with the Mets. Ramirez landing on the 25-man roster seems highly unlikely, but any decision has been stymied by his health concerns.
“It’s almost impossible,” Riggleman said. “If we can’t get him on the mound, we can’t evaluate him. I don’t see him getting on the mound for another week.”
>>> And here is today’s lineup, in Jupiter against the Marlins:
1. Nyjer Morgan, CF
2. Alex Cora, SS
3. Jayson Werth, RF
4. Adam LaRoche, 1B
5. Rick Ankiel, LF
6. Roger Bernadina, DH
7. Danny Espinosa, 2B
8. Jesus Flores, C
9. Alberto Gonzalez, 3B
-- Jordan Zimmermann, SP
Ricky Nolasco on the bump for the Marlins.