Chien-Ming Wang to make at least one more rehab start

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I watched Chien-Ming Wang’s latest minor-league rehab start yesterday on MLB Network and thought he looked pretty good in throwing eight innings at Triple-A, but not surprisingly the Nationals aren’t ready to welcome him back from the disabled list yet.

For one thing Wang allowed four runs on 11 hits, which isn’t great even if a lot of that damage came late in the game when he was wearing down. For another thing Ross Detwiler has pitched well enough to remain in the rotation as the fifth starter and unless the Nationals decide to send him back to the bullpen anyway there isn’t any room for Wang in the rotation.

All of which is why manager Davey Johnson announced last night that Wang would make at least one more rehab start before potentially returning. At most he can continue rehabbing until May 27, at which point the 30-day window closes, so a decision will need to be made very soon either way.

Like me, Johnson watched Wang’s start on television and came away fairly impressed, telling Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that the right-hander “looked good to me” and “that was a big step in the right direction.”

Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg’s status for 2023 ‘a mystery’

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK — Stephen Strasburg‘s status for 2023 is up in the air after a series of injuries that limited him to one start this season, Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said.

“It’s still a little bit of a mystery,” Rizzo said about the 2019 World Series MVP before the Nationals were scheduled to play a doubleheader at the New York Mets. “I know that he’s working hard strengthening his core and the other parts of his body. We’re just going to have to see. With the type of surgery and rehab that he’s had, it’s unfamiliar to us. It’s unfamiliar to a lot of people. We’re going to have to take it day by day.”

The 34-year-old right-hander has thrown a total of 31 1/3 innings across just eight starts over the past three seasons combined. He had carpal tunnel surgery in 2020, then needed an operation to correct thoracic outlet syndrome in 2021.

After his only start of 2022, he went back on the injured list with a stress reaction of the ribs.

“We’ll have to see where the rehab process takes us later on in the winter,” Rizzo said. “We’re going to monitor him. He’s local, so we’ll see him all the time and we’ll see where he’s at going into spring training mode.”

Strasburg is a three-time All-Star who signed a $245 million contract after helping Washington win a championship in 2019.

He is 113-62 with a 3.24 ERA for his career.

Meeting with reporters toward the end of a rough season – Washington entered with a majors-worst and Nationals-worst record of 55-104 and shipped away the team’s best player, outfielder Juan Soto, at the trade deadline – Rizzo talked about doing “an autopsy of the organization.”

“I look at the season as a disappointment. I’ve always said that you are what your record says you are, and our record says we’re the worst team in the league right now. It’s hard to argue with that,” Rizzo said. “The flip side of that is we’re in a process.”

Rizzo and manager Dave Martinez were given contract extensions during the season. Martinez said his entire coaching staff will return next year.