Johnson still mum on the subject of where Wang fits in upon his return
Ross Detwiler’s stellar start Friday night (6 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 7 Ks) in the Nats shutout of Miami ratchets up discussion of Davey Johnson’s decision when Chien-Ming Wang returns from rehab of a hamstring pull. Johnson jokingly refused to address the question on Friday night. On Saturday morning, before the Nats game with Miami, he shed little light on his thought process.
“If you start worrying about problems coming weeks down the road you over-burden yourself,” Johnson said. “These things crop up every day and you have to deal with them.”
To change the subject, Johnson joked that it must be a “boring day” for reporters and asked why there weren’t any questions about Saturday’s starter, Stephen Strasburg.
Former Yankees ace Wang threw 35 pitches in a simulated game in Viera on Wednesday and is scheduled to pitch three innings Monday at an undisclosed Nats affiliate (likely local according to Johnson). Reports on Wang’s most recent outing were good.
In 11 Nationals starts late last year, Wang pitched progressively well, going 4-3 with a 4.04 ERA. The 6-4 right-hander won his final two starts and didn’t walk a batter in his final 24 innings, flashing the control that allowed him to go 54-20 in four seasons in New York. After he suffered Lisfranc ligament strain (foot) running the bases in 2008, Wang suffered a shoulder injury the following season and didn’t pitch in a major league game for more than two years before his call-up to the Nats last summer.
Detwiler, 26, the sixth pick in the 2007 draft, was unimpressive in early trials with the Nats, going 2-9 in 19 starts. But last year, the left-hander appeared to have come of age, going 4-5 with a 3.00 ERA. His work this year has been lights out – 2-0, 0.56 ERA, 16 IP, 4 BB, 15 Ks.
So barring an injury, there will be a decision to make. Wang is making $4 million this year, not just for insurance.
“You can never have enough pitching,” Johnson said. “It’s a nice luxury to have.”