Chien-Ming Wang makes first rehab start

Chien-Ming Wang, who hasn’t pitched a game for the Nationals since signing with the team in February 2009, took a step toward getting back to the majors today. He made the first start of a rehab assignment at Single-A Hagerstown, allowing two runs in three innings. Wang struck out three batters, though, and didn’t walk anyone, while his fastball topped out around 90 mph.

The right-hander has a long way to go in his return from shoulder surgery, but if he can get healthy, he could be a help to the Nationals in the second half of the year. Jordan Zimmermann will run out of innings for the season in early- to mid-September, and particularly if the team is still playing meaningful games, they’ll need help in the rotation. Wang might not work out in the majors, but if he can get his arm strength back, he might be able to help the Nationals late this year.