We’re used to hearing your typical New Year’s resolutions. Work out more. Quit smoking. Read more HardballTalk. You know, that kind of thing.
But for Chien-Ming Wang, the goal is simple. He wants to pitch in the majors this upcoming season. According to a report in the China Post, Wang said at a charity drive yesterday he’ll be able to do so “hopefully in May.”
Wang, who turns 31 in March, hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since undergoing shoulder surgery in July of 2009. The Nationals signed him a to a one-year, $2 million contract last offseason in hopes that he would be able to make it back at some point during the 2010 season, but he was only able to make a couple appearances for the organization’s Instructional League team in the fall. He recently re-signed a new contract with the Nationals that includes a $1 million base salary and $4 million in performance incentives.
There was a time when Wang’s sinker was one of the most effective pitches in the major leagues, so this is a small price to pay for a chance at a rebound, especially for a rotation that needs all the help they can get.
Clayton Kershaw had nothing left to prove when he exited the mound during his last Cactus League start on Friday. He finished camp with a 0.00 ERA, made all the more impressive after he extended his scoreless streak to 21 1/3 innings following 6 2/3 frames of one-hit ball against the Royals.
In six spring training starts this year, the Dodgers southpaw racked up 12 hits, four walks and 23 strikeouts. His velocity appeared to fluctuate between the high-80s and low-90s from start to start, but manager Dave Roberts told reporters that he expects Kershaw to get back up to the 93 m.p.h. range next week. Kershaw is tabbed for his eighth consecutive Opening Day start on Thursday.
The 30-year-old lefty is poised to enter his 11th season with the club in 2018. He went 18-4 in 27 starts last year and turned in a 2.31 ERA, 1.5 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 over 175 innings. He suffered his fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, including a lower back strain that required a five-week stay on the disabled list.
The Dodgers will open their season against the Giants on Thursday, March 29 at 7:08 PM ET. Given the sudden rash of injuries that hit the Giants’ rotation earlier today, Kershaw’s Opening Day opponent has not yet been announced.