Jul 29, 2011, 7:29 PM EST
Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Chien-Ming Wang makes his first start in two years tonight at Nationals Park.
Though plenty of attention is being thrust upon the July 31 trade deadline that is now barely more than 48 hours away, there is something taking place on the field tonight at Nationals Park that deserves and is getting plenty of attention itself: Chien-Ming Wang's return to the big leagues after more than two years.
By now, you know Wang's story, how he suffered a major shoulder injury, signed with the Nats in Feb. 2010, missed the entire season, re-signed with the Nats last winter, showed few signs of progress and then finally began a rehab assignment last month.
So, what should you expect from the 31-year-old right-hander? Don't get your hopes up too much. In an ideal world, Wang would be able to spend more time in the minors building up stamina and refining his pitches. Unfortunately, you're only allowed 30 days on rehab before you have to be activated off the DL, so he's here now even though he's probably not 100 percent ready. The Nats will monitor him closely, limiting him to about 80 pitches, and not putting too much stock in this one performance.
The Nationals needed to remove someone from the 25-man roster to make room for Wang, and that someone is Roger Bernadina, who has been optioned to Class AAA Syracuse. Interesting move in that it leaves the club with a 13-man pitching staff (for the moment) and only Rick Ankiel and Jerry Hairston as center fielders (for the moment). Suffice it to say, there's probably more moves to come this weekend.
Updates to come…
METS at NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 183
Weather: Mostly sunny, 96 degrees, Wind 9 mph out to RF
CF Rick Ankiel
2B Danny Espinosa
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Michael Morse
COUNTDOWN TO OPENING DAY
ON THE RADIO
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TUE: 2:30 p.m.
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SAT: 10:30 a.m.
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