Wang signs US$2,000,000 Nationals deal
ON THE COMEBACK TRAIL: The Taiwanese right-hander is expected to be back pitching in the National League East with Washington sometime between April and June
AP, VIERA, FLORIDA
Sunday, Feb 21, 2010, Page 1
Taiwanese pitcher Wang Chien-ming (王建民) and the Washington Nationals finalized a US$2,000,000, one-year contract on Friday.
The deal includes the chance to earn US$3,000,000 in performance bonuses.
The right-hander, who turns 30 on March 31, had spent his entire five-year major league career with the New York Yankees, who allowed him to become a free agent in December when they failed to offer a new contract.
He made US$5 million last year, when he was 1-6 with a 9.64 ERA and his season was cut short by shoulder surgery on July 29. He is not expected to be able to pitch until sometime between April and June.
“We don’t have a date where we’re saying that this is when we want him to come back and pitch,” Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said. “He’s going to come back and pitch when he’s ready.”
Wang was a 19-game winner in 2006 and 2007, starting New York’s playoff openers in both years, but his career was sidetracked when he severely injured his right foot while running the bases at Houston in June 2008.
“He’s won 19 games in the toughest division in baseball — twice ... It’s something I thought we really needed to do,” Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said.
He missed the final three-and-a-half months of the 2008 season, then allowed 23 runs in six innings over three starts when he returned last season.
He went back on the disabled list, returned in late May to make three relief appearances and six starts before his season was ended by shoulder pain.
“The hardest part for me going through the process was that right after the surgery, I had to start over,” Wang said through translator Alan Chang. “I had to start everything from ground zero, building everything up again step by step. It’s a very trying process, a hard process. My No. 1 goal is to return to be among the best pitchers in Major League Baseball. I’ll do everything possible to make myself stronger and give myself every chance possible.”
Wang will return to Phoenix to continue his off-season rehabilitation before rejoining the Nationals on March 7 in Viera, Rizzo said. From there, Wang’s progress will dictate how quickly he accelerates baseball activities.
Several minor league rehabilitation starts are likely and when asked when Wang would be ready to pitch in the majors, Rizzo said: “We’re going to be cautious with him because he’s a long-term asset for us.”