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.

A.J. Hinch responds to Ken Giles’ negative comments about Astros

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On Sunday, Blue Jays closer Ken Giles spoke to Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star. Giles said, “I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston.” Giles won a World Series with the Astros last year, but talked about communication issues with the Astros and compared them unfavorably to the Blue Jays. Giles described the communication as having been “lost” and credited the Jays for staying patient with him.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch responded to Giles’ comments on Monday. Per Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi, Hinch said:

I think he’s wrong and I’m disappointed that he would go down that path given how much work and time and energy and communication that our front office, our coaching staff, me, we all went through this with him. And I understand, there was some disappointment in his tenure as an Astro because of the turbulent way things went about. We gave him every opportunity, we communicated with him effectively, we have an incredible culture where every single player will tell you it’s one of the best cultures they’ve had, one of the best communication envrionments they’ve had. They all know their roles. They all know their situations. To have one person out of all the guys in our clubhouse come out and claim otherwise is flat wrong.

While Giles certainly could be embellishing or deliberately misconstruing his time there, Hinch’s rebuttal doesn’t actually disqualify anything Giles said. Giles certainly could have had a negative experience in Houston even if everyone else was enjoying the “incredible culture” and “one of the best communication environments.”

Given how the Astros — including Hinch — responded to criticism about their acquiring an accused domestic abuser, they’re not in the best position to boast about an “incredible culture” anyway.

At any rate, this is a he-said, he-said situation. If anything more comes of it, it will be Giles further torching a bridge.