Kevin Mench? Chien-Ming Wang? Kris Benson? The Washington Nationals are still linked to Orlando Hudson by various media outlets, but his isn't the only name being connected to DC GM Mike Rizzo's attempts to improve the roster of the nation's capital's favorite team. Mench, 32, spent the 2009 season in Japan, where he played for the Hanshin Tigers according to Washington Post writer Chico Harlan's Nationals Journal post on the signing entitled, "Nats add Mench on minor league deal". A former Texas Rangers' draft pick from 1999, Mench made his biggest impression in the big leagues in 2004 and 2005 when the then-26-to-27-year-old Wilmington, Delaware-born outfielder hit 26 and then 25 HR's in back-to-back seasons, collecting 66 doubles and 141 RBI's in 275 games. Since then, Mench has struggled at stops in Milwaukee and Toronto where he hit just 21 HR's combined since 2005.
MLB.com's Bill Ladson reported via Twitter this morning that he, "...just learned that the Nationals are monitoring RHP Chien-Ming Wang (who) is throwing 120 feet on flat ground." Wang, according to NY Daily News writer Mark Feinsand's article entitled, "Yankees pitcher Chien-Ming Wang set for surgery on shoulder, season over", underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair, "the capsule (a fibrous membrane that surrounds the joint) in his right shoulder," last year and was non-tendered by the Yankees this winter. The LA Dodgers, NY Mets, St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates are amongst other teams reportedly expressing interest in signing Wang.
FOXSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi reported on the Nationals' interest in free agent right-hander Kris Benson yesterday, in an update of "FOXSports.com's Buzz Latest from the MLB offseason", subtitled, "Benson throwing again, looking for work", where Mr. Morosi wrote:
"A number of National League teams are keeping track of Kris Benson's progress, including the Diamondbacks, Cubs, Reds and Nationals, according to one major league source."
Before last season, Benson hadn't pitched since 2006 when he had surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder, and according to reports last season, elbow tendinitis limited his activity in the Texas after he'd signed a minor league deal with the Rangers last February.
Still no word on Orlando Hudson...more later...