Chien-Ming Wang threw from flat ground at Nationals camp today and has already tossed four bullpen sessions since re-signing with the team in December, but the rehabbing right-hander told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that he expects to begin the season on the disabled list.
Wang is still recovering from shoulder surgery that caused him to miss much of 2009 and all of 2010. After earning $2 million without throwing an inning for the Nationals last season he’ll give it another try on a one-year, $1 million deal that includes up to $5 million in incentives.
Kilgore writes that “he seemingly can be ruled to make the Opening Day rotation” and “is aiming to be ready to pitch in the majors by late April or May.” Until then he’ll likely be placed on the DL and build up arm strength on a minor-league rehab assignment. He hasn’t seen game action since July 4, 2009.
Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.
The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.
That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.