Washington Nationals Pre-Game Notes: Chien-Ming Wang Rehab Starts; Ryan Zimmerman's Return?

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 21: Starting pitcher Chien-Ming Wang #40 of the Washington Nationals prepares to pitch to a Philadelphia Phillies batter during the sixth inning at Nationals Park on August 21, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

After a 6.0-shutout-inning, three-hit outing by 26-year-old Nats' lefty Ross Detwiler against the Miami Marlins during the last homestand, Washington Nationals' manager Davey Johnson was asked what he was going to do once 32-year-old right-hander Chien-Ming Wang returned from rehabbing an injured hamstring. "I don't want to think about it," Davey Johnson said, "But, I like what I'm seeing. [Detwiler's] been outstanding." Detwiler, the Nats' 07 1st Round pick, is (2-1) with a 1.64 ERA, 3.21 FIP, six walks and 19 K's in four starts and 22.0 IP. The Nationals' 69-year-old skipper has championed the power left-hander six taking over for Jim Riggleman last summer, but he's also lobbied for Wang, going so far as to say late last season that the one-time, two-time 19-game winner could have his salary if the Nationals brought him back for the 2012 campaign.

Wang's already made one minor league rehab start, throwing four innings for the Class-A Potomac Nationals in which he gave up four hits and one run while striking out three. Davey Johnson told reporters this afternoon that the sinker-balling right-hander would likely get two more rehab starts in before the Nationals will have to make any decision. "Chien-Ming Wang will go 5-6 IP, 75 pitches tomorrow," NatsInsider.com's Mark Zuckerman wrote on Twitter this afternoon, "Davey says at least one more rehab start after that." MASNSports.com's Dan Kolko added that Wang's second start of the year would probably be for Double-A Harrisburg.

The Nationals' manager also told reporters this afternoon that he thought the most likely return date for Nats' third baseman Ryan Zimmerman was next Tuesday in Pittsburgh, though as Zimmerman told reporters yesterday and Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore Tweeted today, the 27-year-old infielder hasn't ruled out coming back before then:

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