Nationals right-hander Chien-Ming Wang is inching closer and closer to returning to the major leagues.
According to MLB.com’s Bill Ladson, Wang will be promoted to Triple-A Syracuse early next week and will make his fifth minor league rehab start Tuesday night against the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate.
Wang has surrendered just 13 hits and two earned runs in 18 minor league rehab innings thus far, striking out eight batters and issuing only two walks. If the progress continues, he could join the Nationals’ starting rotation by the end of this month.
Wang, a 31-year-old native of Taiwan, hasn’t appeared in a major league game since 2009, when he posted a 9.64 ERA in 42 innings with the Yankees. He won 38 games and maintained a 3.67 ERA from 2006-2007.
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.