The next step in Chien-Ming Wang's recovery from shoulder surgery will come this week at Double-A Harrisburg, where the right-hander will try to build on the success from his latest rehabilitation assignment outing with an eye on pitching in the major leagues later this season.
Wang, who has not appeared in the majors since 2009 with the New York Yankees and signed a second one-year deal with the Nationals in the offseason, worked four scoreless innings for Single-A Potomac on Saturday night in his second rehab start. He walked two, struck out two and said he felt good.
"Now I'm better,: Wang said. "Now I'm myself in the minor leagues so I want to get back to the major leagues."
Wang said his fastball topped out at 91 mph for the P-Natsand that he still has to work on his control. In his first rehab outing for Single-A Hagerstown on June 27, the right-hander allowed two runs on four hits in three innings, walking none and fanning three.
He said he expects to pitch five innings in Harrisburg, though the date of his start is undetermined. A 19-game winner in 2006 and 2007, the 31-year-old has diligently worked his way back from shoulder problems, painstakingly embracing each step of the rehabilitation process.
"A lot of back and forth. ... Throwing better and getting better," he said when asked about the process.
Wang, who had been working out at the team's minor league complex in Viera, Fla., before starting his rehab assignment, played catch at Nationals Park before Sunday's game. When pitching coach Steve McCatty saw him surrounded by reporters, he asked Wang if he was ready to throw.
Wang seem briefly confused before explaining to McCatty that he'd already completed his work. Then he smiled and said, "You want me to throw again?"