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Wang looks sharp vs. minor leaguers

Mar 5, 2012, 7:25 PM EDT

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Chien-Ming Wang throws a pitch during today's intrasquad minor-league game.

VIERA, Fla. — Davey Johnson last watched Chien-Ming Wang pitch in a game situation at the Nationals' minor-league complex here in December 2010. Then a special assistant to general manager Mike Rizzo, Johnson didn't like what he saw.

"It was ugly," he said.

Standing near that same field down the road from Space Coast Stadium this afternoon, Johnson again watched Wang face minor leaguers from the Nationals' organization in an intrasquad game. What he saw bore no resemblance to that last encounter.

What he saw was a full healthy pitcher merely preparing for the start of the season.

"What I'm seeing now, I've kind of got him in that [Stephen] Strasburg mode: He's back," Johnson said, referring to another right-hander who has fully recovered from major surgery. "Now it's just giving him asRead more »

  1. NatsLady - Mar 5, 2012 at 7:30 PM

    Oldguy– thanks for info on BP book tour. I listen to every podcast. Can't go (work) but I plan to order the book.

  2. D'Gourds - Mar 5, 2012 at 7:32 PM

    Good news! Love the competition for the 5th spot.

  3. Anonymous - Mar 5, 2012 at 7:55 PM

    Good news indeed!dfh21

  4. natsfan1a - Mar 5, 2012 at 7:58 PM

    Not crazy. That is an adult bald eagle.Mark Tweetered: Am I crazy or is this a bald eagle hovering over Viera? http://t.co/RpohFQ69 56 minutes ago

  5. natsfan1a - Mar 5, 2012 at 7:59 PM

    Not crazy. That is an adult bald eagle.Mark Tweetered: Am I crazy or is this a bald eagle hovering over Viera? http://t.co/RpohFQ69 56 minutes ago

  6. natsfan1a - Mar 5, 2012 at 7:59 PM

    Sigh. And I haven't even had one bon-bon yet. (But I did have two cups of coffee.)

  7. Gardner - Mar 5, 2012 at 7:59 PM

    I hope this doesn't come off as ignorant but it surprises me when a guy who has played in the US for as long as Wang needs an interpreter. In contrast to a guy like Darvish who has spoken honestly about the importance of learning English to make himself a better teammate. It seems like a way to alienate yourself from your squad.

  8. natsfan1a - Mar 5, 2012 at 8:04 PM

    My impression (from what I've read over time) is that his comprehension of English is good but he prefers to have an interpreter present when dealing with the media. Maybe that's a function of having played in New York and dealt with the media there. I also have the impression that every so often the media there can be a tad bit difficult for players to deal with. :-)

  9. Sec 3, My Sofa - Mar 5, 2012 at 8:04 PM

    Gardner, don't take this wrong, but … we seem to have this discussion every time the word "interpreter" gets used. Just because he uses an interpreter to talk to the media, for publication, doesn't mean he needs one for day-to-day stuff.

  10. natsfan1a - Mar 5, 2012 at 8:05 PM

    Yay – two Cokes for me!

  11. Sec 3, My Sofa - Mar 5, 2012 at 8:08 PM

    Better pace yourself on those sodas, 1a. It's a long season. A marathon, you might say, compared to, for instance, a dash. Or something.

  12. Not Werth It - Mar 5, 2012 at 8:19 PM

    Quick crowdsource question for the Nats faithful: I'm planning a trip down to Veira the first weekend of March Madness, anyone have any tips in setting up a tailgate with TV screens to watch the games?I'm looking into projector rentals but I was hoping maybe someone here had an inside connection/good idea. Thanks and go Nats!

  13. Not Werth It - Mar 5, 2012 at 8:20 PM

    P.S. You guys are invited.

  14. Gonat - Mar 5, 2012 at 8:20 PM

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120305&content_id=27015536&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlbMcCutcheon signs a 6 year extension for just over $8 million a year $51 million. That seems like a bargain for the team considering they bought out Free Agent years.

  15. Sunderland - Mar 5, 2012 at 8:21 PM

    Over time you learn to take everything coaches, managers, and GM's say with a grain of salt. So they can say Wang looked great, but the fact is that two guys who will likely be in A Ball hit extra base ropes off of Wang. Now that's not necessarily the most important fact, and maybe they did see things that made them feel good about Wang, but Wang would not have gotten out of the 2nd inning of an MLB game throwing one or two flat sliders an inning.

  16. Feel Wood - Mar 5, 2012 at 8:28 PM

    Sunderland, it's the first game of spring training. One or two flat sliders an inning is not that big a deal. In case you didn't notice, even the great Strasburg had several bad pitches each inning he pitched yesterday – although his were not flat sliders but instead balls in the dirt that Ramos had to block. And some Astros scrub took Strasburg deep, too.

  17. Sec314 - Mar 5, 2012 at 8:32 PM

    Why anyone thinks there's "competition" for the 5th spot is beyond me. Wang CANNOT be traded and he would be worthless in the Pen. And they certainly won't release him either. Unless he gets hurt, he's the #5 starter.

  18. Sunderland - Mar 5, 2012 at 8:44 PM

    Feel Wood – I get it. Commenting more on the "he looks sharp…better than last year…movement was good…good arm strength" comments from McCatty et al. Maybe. But we hear this stuff all the time. It means nothing. There's no reason to feel bad about the outing, but also no real reason to feel particularly good about the outing either.

  19. Anonymous - Mar 5, 2012 at 8:49 PM

    Former New York Mets outfielder Lenny Dykstra was sentenced Monday to three years in state prison in a grand theft auto case.Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Cynthia Ulfig sentenced Dykstra after refusing to allow him to withdraw a no-contest plea.The judge said the theft scheme showed sophistication and extensive planning.Dykstra was immediately remanded to custody and he walked into the court's back room, hands in his pockets.http://abcnews.go.com/Sports/wireStory/dykstra-seeks-withdraw-contest-plea-15847554

  20. Anonymous - Mar 5, 2012 at 9:09 PM

    Cutter Dykstra can't be a happy camper today.

  21. Anonymous - Mar 5, 2012 at 9:13 PM

    Wang CANNOT be traded and he would be worthless in the Pen.After a certain point in May HE CAN BE TRADED. In the end Detwiler is the fifth starter. Given the make up of the rotation (young, controllable, power pitching) he's the guy that fits the best. At least until Rosenbaum or Purke are ready. IF Detwiler can prove he can pitch consistently as a starter at the major league level. Wang and Lannan are both trade bait all things considered. The Nats are playing it the right way … knowing how injuries occur to starters both within their organization and outside. We'll just have to wait and see how it all plays out.

  22. Cwj - Mar 5, 2012 at 9:19 PM

    Sec314- I agree. Although some people have pointed out they could stash him on the DL to start the season, though I'm not sure what the point of that would be.

  23. A DC Wonk - Mar 5, 2012 at 9:21 PM

    Wang CANNOT be traded and he would be worthless in the Pen….After a certain point in May HE CAN BE TRADED.But keep in mind: we may well need a 6th starter. He can fill in spots here and there during the year, to get ready to take over when Stras hits his innings limit.

  24. Cwj - Mar 5, 2012 at 9:22 PM

    Anon- For some reason I thought he couldn't be traded at all.You're right though.

  25. Steady Eddie - Mar 5, 2012 at 9:24 PM

    Sunderland @3:44 –They can feel good about the outing for lack of anything much to feel bad about the outing, ;-)

  26. Big Cat - Mar 5, 2012 at 9:26 PM

    I have said for over a year now that Desi is as athletic as they come and will be a great shortstop in the bigs for 10 years. After those 2 boots the other day, I am beginning to lose faith. A high schooler makes those with ease. The "he is young" excuse is gone. For us to compete he has to step up and play like a major leaguer.

  27. NatsBrat - Mar 5, 2012 at 9:27 PM

    Wang, given his injury history, age, and FA status for 2013, would seem to me to have less upside than either Detwiler and Lannan. And, to beat all, he's just now trying to develop a curve!If you see Davey and Rizzo standing in the far corner drinking Kool Aide, try to stop them from getting seconds!

  28. DWS - Mar 5, 2012 at 9:29 PM

    This may already have been addressed by the time this is posted.RELAX people…It's spring training. Hopefully we'll see more against Mr Gee tonight.I am concerned about the bats but hope for the best.And worrying about a fifth starter? Sit back and think about it. Breathe in…..

  29. Natitudinous - Mar 5, 2012 at 9:33 PM

    All: Is tonight's game on MLB network? MLB Network yesterday indicated it would be.But they also said yesterday's game would be on MLB network, and instead of the game they were showing blooper reels. It sucked. (I was working during the MASN broadcast)If they are blacked out on MLB, does this mean we'll be watching a lame MASN Mid-Atlantic sports show ABOUT the Nats when the Nats are actually playing?

  30. DWS - Mar 5, 2012 at 9:34 PM

    Oh, and enough with the Desi crap. I thought this post was about Wang.Perhaps Mark will favor you with a "Is he or isn't he" MLB ready. Imagine the comments!

  31. DWS - Mar 5, 2012 at 9:36 PM

    Natitudinous said… All: Is tonight's game on MLB network? MLB Network yesterday indicated it would be. But they also said yesterday's game would be on MLB network, and instead of the game they were showing blooper reels. It sucked. (I was working during the MASN broadcast) If they are blacked out on MLB, does this mean we'll be watching a lame MASN Mid-Atlantic sports show ABOUT the Nats when the Nats are actually playing?As far as I know. If you subscribed to MLB TV.

  32. natsfan1a - Mar 5, 2012 at 9:37 PM

    All signs point to "yes" re. today's game broadcast. It's listed on the MLB Network site, the team site, and my cable provider guide. Also, nice moniker. :-)

  33. sjm308 - Mar 5, 2012 at 9:51 PM

    Not that anyone on here would care but besides the MLB broadcast of our Washington Nationals, MASN is indeed showing another round of bloopers, but they are calling it an exhibition game between the Orioles and Pirates. Lots of baseball on for early March!!

  34. Naturday Night Live - Mar 5, 2012 at 9:51 PM

    I actually tivo'd yesterday's game on MLB Network. The cable guide said Nats vs. Astros…but when I played it, it was all the bloopers and rain-delay junk. So I think MASN is screwing us out of the game.

  35. natsfan1a - Mar 5, 2012 at 9:57 PM

    Well, I guess we'll know for sure in an hour or so.

  36. NatsLady - Mar 5, 2012 at 10:00 PM

    I think they were planning to put the game on a tape delay but they actually broadcast it in "real-time." I was set to go to the gym where they have cable or satellite, as I didn't expect it on MLB.tv, but there it was and I watched it at home on my 'puter… so much for plans. MASN did show the game, just not when they said they would show it.

  37. JamesFan - Mar 5, 2012 at 10:08 PM

    Gardner 2:59 How many languages do you speak? How about Spanish? Americans are notorious for not learning the language of host countries around the world. I'm sure Taiwan is full of Americans who live there and don't speak a word. Criticising a guy for using a translator in a media interview is silly. He is smart to do so even if he speaks decent english. This is baseball. I'm judging him on his era not his linguistic skills.

  38. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 5, 2012 at 10:08 PM

    Re: Wang….They were flat sliders. They were the only balls not pounded into the ground.Wang threw another 15 pitches on the side after his stint on the mound and his stuff was really sinking.

  39. Cwj - Mar 5, 2012 at 10:16 PM

    I don't understand why MASN isn't broadcasting ALL spring training games.It's not like they have anything else to show.

  40. Joe S. - Mar 5, 2012 at 10:21 PM

    I'm a banker. The rare times I talk to the press, I do so through an interpreter. Except they call it "public information.". The press is hard to deal with. I'm amazed that most pro athletes do a decent job with it.

  41. Gardner - Mar 5, 2012 at 10:22 PM

    @JamesFan – I speak English, Spanish (decently), and Portuguese (pretty well). Actually worked in Brazil for a large American company and would have felt like a massive turd if after a year in country I (1) had an interpreter or (2) spoke English with my coworkers. I'm hardly insistant that everyone has to learn English and like you I am judging him on his ERA as well. Just struck me as odd.

  42. Sec 3, My Sofa - Mar 5, 2012 at 10:46 PM

    Not to beat Barbaro into the ground here, but keep in mind CMW probably has more press attention, i.e., readers, back home than he does here, so it probably benefits him to just keep the translating to one direction.

  43. DWS - Mar 5, 2012 at 10:55 PM

    The only Expo I'm aware of to make an effort to learn a second language in Montreal(French) was Gary Carter. That tells you a lot about the man.He made an honest effort in everything he did. I just hope that Bryce learns from his example. Work hard and garner the respect from the fans.You can have all the talent in the world (Alex Rodriguez) and be known for attitude and self worth, or somebody like Ken Griffey Jr or Larry Walker.I just hope that unlike the Expos the Nats can afford to keep Bryce. Assuming he has the ability to be humble and realize he can be like Ryan. Couldn't find a better example.My two cents. Enjoy the game!

  44. 第节3,我的沙发上 - Mar 5, 2012 at 10:57 PM

    当然,所有的翻译是不是好翻译。

  45. Anonymous - Mar 5, 2012 at 11:29 PM

    I am an English Canandian who live in the only bilingual Province in a bilingual country. I speak a little french and the only English canadians who speak french are those who need it for work or are in a location where it is necessary. English TV provided many French Canadians with the opportunity to learn english…there was very little french TV. 4 year olds speak both languages so brain power is not the guiding light. Just my opinion of course. Love Viera and the Nats for 5 weeks and am learning American gradually…..eh.

  46. Anonymous - Mar 5, 2012 at 11:51 PM

    look what torres did leading off,bb,sb,run. he hit 43 doubles in 2010,but battled injuries in 2011.He's great defensively,play with energy,and had a great story.it would be great if the nats had him.

  47. Gardner - Mar 5, 2012 at 11:57 PM

    I really like the guy and didn't in any way mean to disparage him. As a former pitcher I couldn't imagine not being able to shoot the shit with my guys as there is a ton of downtime for those every fifth dayers. In doing some homework it does seem he speaks some English.

  48. Feel Wood - Mar 6, 2012 at 1:04 AM

    MASN did show the game, just not when they said they would show it.MASN showed the game live at 1:00, exactly when the MASN website said they would show it. I believe the MLB website showed the incorrect day/time for the MASN broadcast.

  49. m20832 - Mar 6, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    The broadcast was on mlb tv @6:10pm. Except the announcers were SNY (sports new york?) guys. Interviewed the Muts in their dugout. Didn't do anything with the Nats.GYFNG!!!

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