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Is Chien-Ming Wang fully recovered?

Feb 18, 2011, 12:00 PM EST

VIERA, Fla. — For all the attention Stephen Strasburg received yesterday during his first official workout of the spring, there was another Nationals pitcher drawing even more attention.

Chien-Ming Wang, a national hero in Taiwan, was followed by the usual throng of media members that chronicles his every move. These reporters have spent a lot of time in Viera over the last year, because Wang has yet to even pitch in a minor-league game nearly two years since undergoing major shoulder surgery.

Wang has been throwing bullpen sessions for several weeks now, but yesterday represented the first time the full Nationals coaching staff (and D.C.-based media) had a chance to see him in months. And the evaluations weren't glowing.

There are no radar guns out on the practice fields, but Wang didn't appear to be throwing anywhere close to full velocity. He has a slow, deliberate motion that can be deceiving and make it appear he's not throwing as hard as he actually is. But if you watch the above videoRead more »

  1. joemktg - Feb 18, 2011 at 12:16 PM

    Wasn't there a post-season camp last year (pre-AFL), attended by Flores, Harper, etc., where Wang pitched in intersquad games? Granted it was against the young players in the system, but I seem to recall reports that Wang was making good progress, enough to stoke discussion around his appearance this year. So what happened since then that he hasn't shown progress, or is this as good as it gets? Has he peaked?One more point: yes he has had a deliberate delivery, but the video points to slow arm speed…very slow arm speed. You can have a deliberate motion with ML arm speed, but I'm not seeing the necessary arm speed.

  2. Big Cat - Feb 18, 2011 at 12:23 PM

    My wife says I'm not "pronating" anymore also.

  3. Big Cat - Feb 18, 2011 at 12:31 PM

    Seriously though, he seems to be slinging the ball rather than throwing it. Again, I have never seen him throw before. Its that old saying "The hitters will let you know how you're throwing."

  4. Anonymous - Feb 18, 2011 at 12:56 PM

    Interesting reference to Drew Brees' surgery. I've read his surgery was given a 10 percent success rate. Not encouraging when combined with Mark's report.

  5. joemktg - Feb 18, 2011 at 12:57 PM

    Just saw Mark's video on from yesterday. There was a shot of Werth in the OF: he looks like a Wookie.Mark: is it possible to add your radio interview schedule to the right side menu while down in Viera?

  6. Doc - Feb 18, 2011 at 1:45 PM

    Great video by you and the CSN crew Mark.It lets us see some up close and personal activity. Wang appears to be throwing like full delivery for his 'real stuff' is painful—hence the hitch.

  7. VladiHondo - Feb 18, 2011 at 1:54 PM

    "joemktg said… Wasn't there a post-season camp last year (pre-AFL), attended by Flores, Harper, etc., where Wang pitched in intersquad games?"It was the Instructionals last fall that Wang pitched in, they bring a bunch of the better minor leaguers for in depth tutelage each October.

  8. wally - Feb 18, 2011 at 2:09 PM

    Mark – great topic and idea to get feedback from Will Carroll too (hope that you don't get the Nats staff too PO'd at you).Hard for me to make any conclusions from the video, but the takeaway seems consistent with Wang's comments about timing. Carroll's take is particularly concerning, but we knew that with so many injury rehabs, not all would work out and maybe this is one.

  9. NG - Feb 18, 2011 at 2:24 PM

    How does Wang's contract compare to Shawn Hill's contract in 2009, where the Nationals were able to release him in Spring Training and only pay something like 25% of his salary? This is really starting to look like a "fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me" type of situation.

  10. Theophilus - Feb 18, 2011 at 2:39 PM

    We're all steeled to a lengthy Strasburg rehabilitation so another couple of weeks of patience w/ Wang is no big deal. No way a couple of innings in the Instructional League last October scraped off all of the rust. Everybody who's wanted to spend $300MM on pitchers the past couple of days should know that $1MM on Wang is a cheap roll of the dice on a two-time 19-game winner. Worst thing that happens is it relieves the traffic jam competing for spots in the rotation.

  11. Theophilus - Feb 18, 2011 at 2:42 PM

    Incidentally, Shawn Hill is in the Marlins camp this Spring so may he's not done, either.

  12. JD - Feb 18, 2011 at 3:16 PM

    It's incredible how people want to draw conclusions based on 1 bullpen session. If he returns in June and is 80% the pitcher he was it;s still a great deal for us.

  13. Anonymous - Feb 18, 2011 at 3:59 PM

    He is REALLY holding back and thats scary for someone more than a year and a half out of shoulder surgery. 20 months later if he is still having that much discomfort I'm afraid I dont like his chances of ever getting back to the mound in a big league game. Not that it matters to anyone, but I had a similar shoulder surgery that ended my college career and to this day (surgery about 7 years ago) I still cant throw a baseball more than 30 feet without pain. I hope he proves me wrong and Im certainly rooting for him but I dont like his chances.

  14. Anonymous - Feb 18, 2011 at 4:32 PM

    I told you he wasn't going to be ready …

  15. Souldrummer - Feb 18, 2011 at 6:37 PM

    Apparently, Garrett Mock has a greater shot of making the starting rotation out of camp than Wang based on those shots. This is really good stuff to actually see them on the mounds. Do you think it's possible to get a shot from further away where you can actually see more than one pitcher in the shot? I'd imagine part of the reason you and the crew might have realized how slow Wang was pitching is comparing it to the zing of Mock right next to him. Plus Livo was even farther in the foreground. And if Wang can't throw harder than Livo we've got a problem for sure.

  16. Gnashnail - Feb 18, 2011 at 6:55 PM

    Ouch. As a baseball player and former shoulder surgery patient, I *do not* like what I see. For comparison, see: for a sample of CMW's full windup delivery prior to surgery, and for a sample prior to surgery from the stretch. Watch Mark's video at 39 sec and notice the differences in arm coil extension (only just below the butt after surgery – much lower before) and landing foot/leg distance (less pronounced). You can see CMW is throwing from the waist. This a significant change in delivery THIS FAR post surgery at the MLB level. And it does *not look good* fellow Nats fans!

  17. JamesFan - Feb 18, 2011 at 7:30 PM

    He's throwing like his shoulder hurts or he thinks it's going to. This looks awful to me and I, for one, think that a return to mlb as an effective pitcher is very unlikely.

  18. Mark Zuckerman - Feb 18, 2011 at 8:17 PM

    joemktg said…Mark: is it possible to add your radio interview schedule to the right side menu while down in Viera?Thanks for the suggestion — I just posted my weekly schedule for radio appearances on the right-hand side of the page.

  19. Anonymous - Feb 19, 2011 at 3:04 AM

    Hey gents,I sadly have to disagree with everyone's comments. One, everyone is working their shoulder in shape (Joe Nathan mentioned he hits 88 this time of year, when he regularly hits mid 90's.) Two if you look at the two videos below, the first it looks like the coach is working on his finishing, trying to get him to get his pitching arm down over his left knee past follow through. (clearly an unnatural motion for him). The second video is from an actual game, and though it as some distance to the video, its clear that 1.) he is upright throughout the delivery 2.) his back leg clearly drags through to follow through and 3.) his arm motion actually looks slow and deliberate, like in the Zuckerman video. look at this game pitch a third for promise





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