Chien-Ming Wang on the way back for Nationals

VIERA, Fla. - Chien-Ming Wang’s shoulder rehab has progressed to the point the Nationals finally have him slated to pitch in a spring game, and while the pitcher’s recovery from surgery is still moving slowly, the team is more encouraged about his progress than it has been in a while.

Wang will throw an inning in a simulated game on March 4 against minor leaguers in the Nationals’ accelerated spring training camp. The team still wants him pitching in a controlled situation, and the Nationals’ braintrust will be “ultra-conservative” with him, manager Jim Riggleman said, but there’s at least a plan to put Wang in front of hitters. He made a couple appearances in the Nationals’ instructional league last fall, too, but hasn’t been put in the team’s plans for a major league spring game yet.

Riggleman was also pleased to hear Wang had been telling reporters he is shooting to make the club on opening day, rather than assuming he’ll start on the disabled list. “We do have a bit of a communication thing, because of the language barrier,” Riggleman said. “But I was glad to hear that coming out of his mouth.”