Chien-Ming Wang made his first major league start since July 4, 2009 last night against the Mets and it should come as no surprise that he was pretty shaky out of the gate.
Wang, who has been rehabbing from shoulder surgery for the past two years, gave up six runs (four earned) over four innings as part of an 8-5 loss. The 31-year-old right-hander allowed the first five batters to reach base in the first inning, leading to four runs, though he did settle down a bit from there. All told, he gave up eight hits (all singles) while striking out two and walking one. He threw 39 out of 61 pitches for strikes and induced eight ground balls.
While the results weren’t all that great, Nationals manager Davey Johnson told the Associated Press that he set his expectations pretty low for his Wang’s return.
“I was actually impressed,” Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. “His delivery looked really easy. He had some good velocity on the ball. I was pleased. I really didn’t think I was going to see that much.”
According to Brooks Baseball, Wang averaged 91.75 mph on his fastball last night and topped out at 92.7 mph. He averaged around 93 mph on his fastball during his most productive year with the Yankees back in 2006.
With a throng of media from his native Taiwan tracking his every move, Wang told reporters that he was just happy to get back on a major league mound.
“I feel really happy and then especially during the game,” Wang said through an interpreter. “I feel like I can do it again, come back to the mound, especially it’s been a while, a long time. I was down in Florida rehabbing for almost two years. Right now, I’m back.”
According to Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com, Johnson said after the game that he believes Wang will stay in the rotation for the rest of the season as long as he continues to make progress. Wang had a 9.64 ERA and 29/19 K/BB ratio in 42 innings with the Yankees before undergoing shoulder surgery in July of 2009, so while it was nice to see him back in the big leagues, he’s far from a lock to be successful.