It's already Saturday morning in Taipei, Taiwan where the so-called "Pride of Taiwan" major league pitcher Chien-Ming Wang spoke to the local press after arriving in his home country on Friday. Shelley Shan, staff reporter for the Taiwan Times, reported in an article today entitled, "‘Pride of Taiwan’ jets into nation for visit", that the 30-year-old right-hander who signed a one-year/$2 million dollar deal last winter and is arbitration-eligible this winter, believes that he will return to the major leagues in April or May of 2011 after spending the 2010 season rehabbing with the Nats.
"'The doctor said I am able to throw again, but I need to make the muscles in the shoulder a bit stronger,' Wang said, adding that he considered 80 percent of his injury to have been treated and healed."
The former NY Yankee told reporters that he didn't necessarily enjoy the rehab process, explaining that, "...he felt bored most of the time as he essentially repeated the same procedures day after day from 3am to 4pm." But Wang said he did so with a goal in mind, "The only reason I do them is so that I can return to the baseball field one day." Wang also told reporters that he wasn't too concerned about his contract situation for 2011. According the Taiwan Times' writer the right-hander said he, "...believed things would work themselves out naturally and that he would leave this for his agent to handle."
Wang: "I have no preconceptions [about the contract]," he said. "I’ll find out what it is [next month]."
In July of '09, Wang underwent, "athroscopic surgery to repair the capsule (the fibrous membrane that surrounds the joint) in his right shoulder," according to New York Daily News' writer Mark Feinsand's article at the time entitled, "Yankees pitcher Chien-Ming Wang set for surgery on shoulder, season over." The Nats originally spoke about the 5-year MLB vet making a return to the mound in 2010, but as the season progressed it became clear that two-time 19-game winner and one-time runner-up in Cy Young voting would not make it back to the majors, though he did pitch in the Florida Instructional League, impressing those who saw his work in September.
D.C. GM Mike Rizzo told MASNSports.com Ben Goessling in an interview last month for an article entitled, "Wang starts today; agent optimistic about deal with Nats", that he was, "...optimistic about reaching a deal with Wang before the arbitration process - which would offer the Nationals some cost savings after rehabbing Wang all year." Where Wang fits in the Nats' plans in unclear. There's not a lot of room for starters right now and with the Nationals reportedly looking for a front-end arm this winter, there's going to be quite a battle this Spring for the fifth spot in the 2011 D.C. rotation.