Even after going eight strong innings for Triple-A Syracuse in a rehab start earlier today, Chien-Ming Wang will not rejoin the Nationals just yet.
Manager Davey Johnson said that Wang will make at least one more rehab outing before the Nats decide to activate him and have him join their rotation.
"He should for sure get one more start down there, and then we'll go from there," Johnson said.
Wang, who suffered a left hamstring injury during a spring training start on March 15, is allowed 30 days on his rehab assignment. Those 30 days end on May 27, meaning the Nationals can keep Wang with one of their affiliates until then and buy themselves some more time before needing to make a decision on how to adjust their staff.
The veteran right-hander allowed 11 hits and four runs today, but looked sharp throughout much of his outing, which was aired on MLB Network.
"I liked the way he was throwing," Johnson said. "That's what I was seeing in the spring. It doesn't look like the leg is bothering him. Late in the game, he's still throwing good strikes. Still had a lot of movement. He looked good."
Johnson reiterated again today that he will not go to a six-man rotation once Wang returns. Because Ross Detwiler is the Nats' fifth starter and only made the rotation due to Wang's injury, people assume Detwiler would be the guy to get bumped to the 'pen when Wang is back. Edwin Jackson has the most experience in relief of any of the Nats' starters, however, having made 30 relief appearances in his career, including one last year.
Asked if it's possible someone other than Detwiler gets pushed out of the rotation, Johnson paused.
"Conceivably," he said, "but again, you guys are (asking) questions that I don't have to address right now. I've got enough other problems without conjecture."
Johnson said the decision on how the staff will shake out will be made by general manager Mike Rizzo. But again, Johnson says that decision hasn't been made just yet.
"The question really comes down to, is (Wang) polished off enough to come in and replace one of our starters and give us the same type of effort?" Johnson said. "(Today) was a big step in the right direction. It depends how he recovers from that, I would think. For sure, we want to see him go back out and throw the same kind of ballgame, that's not having a tired arm or something like that, which you sometimes come out of your spring with. But he looked good to me."