Even as he announced that 32-year-old, seven-year veteran Chien-Ming Wang would pitch out of the bullpen upon returning to the majors following a long rehab for a hamstring injury suffered this Spring, Nats' skipper Davey Johnson was sure to mention that he thought Wang was a major-league caliber starter. Ross Detwiler had earned his role in the starting rotation, however, the manager explained, but that didn't change his opinion on Wang. "I don't look at [Wang] as a reliever," the manager said, "I look at him as a quality major league starter." Wang made one relief appearance, his first since 2009, and Detwiler made another in a string of rough outings before the manager decided to change his mind and bring Wang back as the Nationals' no.5 behind Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann and Edwin Jackson.
Detwiler took the decision well, telling reporters, including the Washington Times' Amanda Comak, that though he'd rather start, he was looking at it as a move from best rotation in baseball to the best bullpen. Wang's first turn in the rotation comes around at 7:10 pm EDT tonight as the Nats' right-hander tries to help the Nationals avoid losing their third straight to end a nine-game road trip on which they're 5-3 thus far. Wang will be throwing to Jhonatan Solano (aka Onion), the Nationals' 26-year-old backstop who made his MLB debut with a two-out pinch hit double in the top of the ninth last night. After 474 minor league games, Solano makes his first major league start tonight, batting eighth in the lineup Davey Johnson hopes will save the Nationals from a sweep at the hands of their NL East rivals. Here's the rest of tonight's lineup:
#Nats Lineup: Lombardozzi LF, Harper CF, Zimmerman 3B, LaRoche 1B, Desmond SS, Espinosa 2B, Bernadina RF, Solano C, Wang RHP— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) May 30, 2012