Chien-Ming Wang is still out on the free agent market in hopes of getting a major league deal. While he may have to eventually lower his expectations, there’s a chance that one of his former teams will welcome him back into the fold.
According to George A. King III of the New York Post, the Yankees will send scouts to watch Wang pitch for Taiwan during the upcoming World Baseball Classic. While Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told King that he hasn’t had contact with Wang’s representatives, this would seem to indicate that they have some level of interest.
Of course, Wang began his career with the Yankees and posted a 55-26 record and a 4.16 ERA over five seasons with the club prior to having shoulder surgery in 2009. He has struggled to get his career back on track since the procedure, posting a 4.04 ERA in 11 starts with the Nationals in 2011 and a 6.68 ERA and 15/15 K/BB ratio over 32 1/3 innings last season.
Yankees spring pitching instructor Billy Connors came away impressed by a recent bullpen session by Wang, but since the club already has a full starting rotation, he might find a better opportunity elsewhere. Failing that, the Yankees would surely welcome him as depth at the Triple-A level.
Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez has wasted no time acclimating himself to major league competition. Since getting called back up on August 3, Sanchez has smacked nine homers and driven in 16 runs in a span of 18 games. In fact, since August 3, no hitter has homered more than Sanchez and only Charlie Blackmon and Brian Dozier have matched him, Katie Sharp of River Ave Blues notes.
One of those homers came in Wednesday afternoon’s game against the Mariners at Safeco Field. It was a first-inning blast off of Hisashi Iwakuma, quickly giving the Yankees a 1-0 lead. They would go on to win 5-0. Sanchez finished 2-for-3 with a pair of intentional walks, a double, and the homer.
Some more fun facts about Sanchez, courtesy Sharp:
- Sanchez is the first Yankee in club history with nine home runs in his first 21 career games [Link]
- Sanchez is the third American League player in the last 100 years to hit at least nine home runs in his first 21 career games, joining George Scott and Alvin Davis [Link]
- Sanchez and Joe DiMaggio are the only Yankees with 15 or more extra-base hits in their first 21 career games [Link]
Sanchez was considered the fifth-best prospect in the Yankees’ minor league system, according to MLB Pipeline. In the majors, he’s carrying a .389/.450/.847 triple-slash line in 79 plate appearances. He has also thrown out five of seven would-be base-stealers.
American swimmer Katie Ledecky, fresh off of winning four gold medals at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio De Janiero, Brazil, was in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday night to throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the Nationals’ game against the Orioles.
As NHL.com’s Katie Brown notes, Ledecky’s favorite player is Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, who was on the field with her. So what did she make him do? Hold all of her medals while she threw out the first pitch.
Harper has his fair share of hardware, including a Rookie of the Year Award and an MVP Award, but no gold medals. For shame.