Chien-Ming Wang activated from DL, but role on Nationals is unclear

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Washington has activated Chien-Ming Wang from the disabled list after he missed the past two months with a hip injury, but when he might pitch again and which role he’ll fill remains uncertain.

For now Wang is throwing bullpen sessions so Davey Johnson can get a look at him and the manager told James Wagner of the Washington Post that Wang “conceivably” could make some starts down the stretch. Wagner speculates that would probably happen only after the Nationals had clinched a postseason spot.

Wang hasn’t been healthy and effective since basically mid-2008, although he did make some decent starts for the Nationals last season. Once upon a time the Nationals kept waiting around for Wang to get healthy and step into a rotation spot, but now their rotation is so strong that they don’t even need him.

Any starts he makes down the stretch would mostly serve as an audition for other teams to potentially sign him as a free agent this winter.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.