Results tagged ‘ Chien-Ming Wang ’

Screech and the Nats Head to Taiwan

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In mid-October, the Washington Nationals were excited to learn that Major League Baseball had selected Screech, the team’s official mascot, as the only MLB mascot to travel to Taiwan with a team of MLB All-Stars for the 2011 Taiwan All-Star Series the first week of November.

Screech will accompany Nationals players P Collin Balester, P Ross Detwiler and 1B/OF Michael Morse, who were named to the MLB team roster, and P Chien-Ming Wang, who will play for the Chinese Taipei National Team, for the exciting weeklong trip to Taiwan.

To prepare for his trip, Screech stopped by the historic Twin Oaks Estate in Northwest D.C. earlier this week to visit with Ambassador and Mrs. Jason Yuan of the Taipei Economic & Cultural Representative Office, both of whom offered to teach Screech about traditional Taiwanese customs.

From learning basic Chinese phrases and greetings to mastering the art of using chopsticks, Ambassador Yuan and his wife ensured that Screech was well-versed in Taiwanese culture so that he can fully understand and enjoy his experience abroad.

In addition, the Ambassador recommended several landmarks for Screech to visit – including the Taipei 101 tower, which, at 1,671 feet tall is the second tallest building in the world – and invited Screech to sample a traditional Cantonese dim sum, which included delicious dishes such as shrimp dumplings and spring rolls in oyster sauce. 

Check out footage from the visit here:

Screech will meet up with his old friends Ballester, Detwiler, Morse and the rest of the MLB All-Star Team in Los Angeles before making the 14-hour journey to Taiwan this weekend. The Nationals players will be joined by 25 players from 16 other MLB clubs, including Pablo Sandoval (San Francisco Giants) and Curtis Granderson (New York Yankees).

The 2011 Taiwan All-Star Series will consist of five games played in three different cities – New Taipei City (XinZhuang Stadium) on November 1, Taichung (Intercontinental Stadium) on November 3 and 4, and Kaohsiung (Chengcing Lake Stadium) on November 5 and 6.

MLB Network will televise all five games of the series, while Nationals fans can keep up with Screech’s adventures on his blog and on his Twitter at @ScreechTheEagle.

Owner Mark D. Lerner on Strasburg’s 2011 Nats Debut

Hello again Nats fans. It has been a while, but I wanted to stop by and offer some of my thoughts on Tuesday night’s 2011 debut for Stephen Strasburg

Does AWESOME! cover it? I am not sure it does it justice. But it was truly exhilarating. This, I can confirm.

Tuesday  night’s start really was a year in the making.

But, I suppose most (myself included) will never know everything that went into the making. We may never know the pain, focus, trepidation, elation and isolation that Stephen endured to get to that mound last night.

Sure, I think we know the year-plus process was arduous at least and tedious at best. But something tells me even that does not tell the entire story.

So, who can relate to Stephen’s plight the last 13 months? Perhaps a marathoner breaking a foot? An artist smashing a hand? They can relate in their own worlds.

But, I have to think that those who can best relate to Stephen are those pitchers who have had arm injuries themselves.

Jordan Zimmermann and Ryan Mattheus (Tommy John Surgery) or Chien-Ming Wang (shoulder), they can relate. The Cardinals Adam Wainwright is likely beginning to understand, as has his teammate Chris Carpenter, who last fall lent Stephen a bit of knowledge as to what to expect. So can hundreds of others who have left this game prematurely, or the dozens currently rehabbing their own arm injuries.

But can we as fans empathize? I am not so sure we can with complete and true appreciation.

With Strasburg’s 2011debut still fresh in our minds, I have to remind myself that this rehab process is not yet complete. With that said, I believe it is appropriate to acknowledge the precision, expertise and wisdom of Dr. Lewis Yocum, who performed Stephen’s surgery on Sept. 3, 2010, and Nationals Medical Director, Dr. Wiemi Douoguih, who assisted on the procedure.

Let us not forget those that stood behind Stephen the entire way. For it is their hard work, scheduling, communication and (most importantly) execution of the Strasburg rehab calendar that made Tuesday’s outing possible. Job well done to our athletic training staff of Head Athletic Trainer Lee Kuntz, Assistant Athletic Trainer Michael McGowan, Medical and Rehab Coordinator Steve Gober, Strength and Conditioning Coach John Philbin and Senior Medical Consultant Dr. Bruce Thomas. And I should not forget the athletic training staffs in Syracuse, Harrisburg, Potomac, Hagerstown and Viera, too.

What a thrill it was for many of us last night to re-engage and reconnect with Stephen Strasburg the pitcher. And coupling that enjoyment with how much I personally admire Stephen for his talents, it really made me wonder what the last year was like for Stephen Strasburg the person.

Well, thank you for checking in. I will be back in touch in the next couple of weeks. I have a few more thoughts and observations I’d like to convey about the big league and minor-league levels as we put a bow on the 2011 campaign.

Have a great weekend and hope to see you at Nationals Park….as soon as the rain ends!

Wang’s no-hit bid

After a couple of shaky starts that both resulted in losses, Chien-Ming Wang looked like the pitcher he was with the Yankees last night. After throwing just 81 pitches, he was done for the night in the seventh inning. The bullpen took over and locked it down in a 3-1 win over the Chicago Cubs.

Wang’s outing was highlighted by the fact that he took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, where pinch hitter Tony Campana led off with an infield single. But the fact that the righty got that far into a game without allowing a hit was certainly thrilling for Nationals fans, who have yet to see a no-hitter since the Montreal Expos moved to DC.

The franchise had four no-no’s during its time in Canada, the most recent being a perfect game by Dennis Martinez on July 28, 1991. Worth noting about that game is that the catcher that day, Ron Hassey, had previously caught a perfect game for Len Barker of the Toronto Blue Jays in 1981. Hassey is the only catcher in MLB history to have caught two perfect games.

But the city of Washington hasn’t seen a no-hitter in a lifetime. The last person to throw one for a Washington Ballclub was Bobby Burke, who threw his on August 8, 1931. Burke, a lefty, spent most of his career with the original Senators before going to play for the Phillies. He was with the Senators for their 1933 pennant victory.

Prior to that, you had the great Walter Johnson. His no-hitter on July 1, 1920 was the first in the history of that franchise and came on a narrow victory—1-0 over the Boston Red Sox. Johnson’s only base runner came on an error by Hall-of-Fame second baseman Bucky Harris in the seventh inning; Johnson did not allow any walks during that game.

After Johnson and Burke, there have not been any no-no’s in the Capital, as the expansion Senators did not throw one until they moved to Texas. However, within recent years, you’ve had a few pitchers flirt with making history.

In April of this year, Jordan Zimmermann took a perfect game into the sixth inning before Carlos Ruiz spoiled his chances with a home run. In 2010, Nats fans got the closest they’ve come to a no-hit victory when Scott Olsen took one into the eighth inning in a game against the Braves. Atlanta catcher David Ross hit a single past Ian Desmond to put the first hit on the board for the Braves. The only base runner prior to that was a walk to Melky Cabrera in the third.

Jason Bergmann got the closest to a no-hitter back when the Nationals were still playing at RFK Stadium. In 2007 he, like Olsen, took his bid against the Braves into the eighth inning before allowing a hit. He struck out 10 batters and allowed just one walk and two hits in his eight-plus innings pitched. The Nats won that game 2-1.

With Wang shaking the rust off of his pitching arm, as well as the much-anticipated return of Stephen Strasburg looming on the horizon, it’s quite possible that Nationals fans could see their squad get off the no-hitter schneid.

Wang nearing return to Majors

After finishing their road trip in California yesterday, the Nationals get a well-deserved day off. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything to get excited about. This coming homestand, fans may be able to finally see the long-awaited return of Chien-Ming Wang to the mound.

Wang, who first signed with Washington as a free agent in early 2010, has spent the last two seasons recovering from shoulder surgery. In his most recent rehabilitation start at Triple-A Syracuse, Wang threw 96 pitches over five innings, and 63 of those were strikes. Depending on how he feels today, he may finally be activated from the disabled list and be able to pitch on Friday.

Wang has not pitched in the Majors since the 2009 season, when he was with the New York Yankees. He originally signed with New York as an amateur free agent before the 2000 season. He is only the fourth Major Leaguer from Taiwan, joining the likes of Chin-Feng Chen, Chin-Hui Tsao and Hong-Chih Kuo.

Wang played for the Yankees from 2005-2009, and was considered the ace of their staff in 2006 and 2007. In both of those seasons he won 19 games, finishing amongst the Major League leaders in wins. In 2006, he finished second to Johan Santana in the voting for the American League Cy Young Award, and he finished in the top 10 of voting for the AL MVP Award. In 2007 he continued to play superbly, finishing with a .731 win percentage and a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage.

Despite the overwhelming positives, Wang has struggled to recover from a number of injuries that plagued him in 2008 and 2009—a pulled hamstring, torn ligaments in his right foot, as well as his previously mentioned shoulder issues—but has so far proven he’s recovered during his time in the Minors. His velocity has been back to where it was before, as his fastball has been clocked in the low-to-mid 90s.

No official announcement has been made regarding Wang’s return to the Big Leagues, though, given his progress since last year, it’s likely to happen sooner than later. If he returns to the rotation during this homestand, another player would have to be sent down in order to make room. Keep following us and check back here for any further news regarding Wang.

Day 2 in Viera: Pitchers Take Center Stage

Hi again. I hate to rub it in—as I heard that it’s cold again in DC—but the temperature reached 72 here in Viera today. In fact, the highs for the next four days are slated to be 73 (Thu.), 74 (Fri.), 73 (Sat.) and 73 (Sun.). Now that’s baseball weather! To be more specific, that’s San Diego baseball weather.

Spring Training really is a unique time. No other sport can even touch it. I hope everyone reading this blog can someday experience firsthand the warmth, rhythm and optimism that is nearly palpable at a big league Spring Training camp. Let’s just say you have an open invitation to joins us anytime here in Viera!

I’m John Dever, the PR Director for the Nationals baseball operation, and I will be posting some miscellaneous observations (along with those of my trusty sidekicks, Mike Gazda and Bill Gluvna) over the next week or so that will hopefully appeal to all of you Nats fans out there. But really, the three of us are just saving Mark Lerner’s spot. Mark will be blogging about his Spring Training experiences starting next week. He began blogging during the ’10 Winter Meetings and he is eager to restart his blogging engines.

So here’s a run-down of today’s happenings:

*Saw Stephen Strasburg today. He looked … great. His core is noticeably stronger. And as good as he looked physically, his spirits appeared higher. While I’m sure he is bummed he won’t be throwing his first bullpen this week, I have a feeling he long ago accepted his fate and began channeling his energies toward a successful return. The media will meet with Stephen on Thursday, so I’m sure you will be reading more on his outlook directly from him by this time on Thursday. But here’s the bottom line: as anxious as we all are for the return of Stephen Strasburg “the pitcher,” it was fantastic to see Stephen Strasburg “the person” today.

102572427.jpg*Please note that no matter what you read, Jim Riggleman yesterday did not name Livan Hernandez our Opening Day starter. But Riggs did indicate that Livan is the leading candidate, and that he earned that dubbing via his performance last season (10-12, 3.66 ERA, 22 quality starts in 33 starting assignments). This would not be Livan’s first Opening Day nod. He’s earned that honor seven times during his career. Not many pitchers can say they have toed the rubber seven times on Opening Day.

*Newest arrival among position players: Roger Bernadina (who flew in on the Amsterdam-Viera express). Roger spent a good chunk of his offseason in The Netherlands, but as he told me, he gets plenty of work in there, as there is more baseball played there than any other European country. He works out with other pros there at an indoor facility, so that might give you an indication of The Netherland’s place in the baseball universe.

*Chien-Ming Wang is back and, like Strasburg, his spirits are high after spending the majority of his offseason working out and strengthening his right shoulder in Phoenix. There will be no limitations placed on Wang as tomorrow we embark on the first formal workout of the spring.

*Hair update: Strasburg’s beard that you may have spied in the offseason is gone. He’s back to the familiar chin patch.

*Local Nationals coverage reminder: Jordan Zimmermann will be on “Overtime” with Bill Rohland on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. on 106.7 fm The Fan.

Nationals add Chien-Ming Wang to rotation

Chien-Ming Wang PC 2.JPGThe Nationals entered the offseason looking for two veteran pitchers to bulk up the starting rotation. Mission accomplished. The Nats have added two proven sinker ball pitchers to the top of their rotation: Jason Marquis in December and Chien-Ming Wang today. They finally made the news from earlier in the week official on a chilly afternoon in Viera at Space Coast Stadium.
The Nats introduced Chien-Ming Wang on the field instead of the small media room to accommodate the large international media contingent–at least 40 people.

The 29-year-old Wang is an extreme sinker ball pitcher and has a career 55-26 record with a 4.16 ERA in 109 games (104 starts) spanning five seasons with the Yankees. He is best known for posting consecutive 19-win seasons for the Yankees in 2006 and ’07. During the same two-year span, Wang led MLB with 38 wins and a .745 winning percentage while pacing the American League with 864 ground balls induced and a 2.9/1 ground ball-to-fly ball ratio.

Chien-Ming Wang PC 1.JPGWang was plagued by injuries in 2008 and ’09 and he
still recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder. The Nationals aren’t worried and hope he can pitch in the Majors by June 1st. They know they took a risk but the rewards could be plentiful. And like Matt Capps, if Wang didn’t struggle in 2009, he wouldn’t have been available in 2010.

Teammates such as pitchers Matt Capps, Tyler Clippard, John Lannan and Collin Balester were all in attendance. Balester gave up his uniform number, 40, to Wang and posted the following tweets on his twitter account here:

“Went to the Wang press conference and got thanked for giving up my number. I got 99 problems but Balester ain’t one hit me.”

“I am Now Number 99”

“Wang will wear #40, Balester #99. Back-story: Wang was assigned #40 by NYY. Prior to his arrival in New York, he hadn’t worn #40.”

You might think of 99 on a baseball uniform the same way you think of 65 on a wide receiver but Manny Ramirez is 99 for the Dodgers. And let’s not forget no one has kept 99 more groovy than Rick “The Wild Thing” Vaughn… then again Wayne “The Great One” Gretzky admirably wore 99 too.