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Wang to pitch in Hagerstown on Monday

June 25, 2011|By BOB PARASILITI | bobp@herald-mail.com

Chien-Ming Wang has become baseball’s version of “Where’s Waldo?”

He is out there somewhere in the crowd, but you just can’t find him.

On Monday, Wang will resurface when he makes a rehabilitation start for the Hagerstown Suns against Lakewood at Municipal Stadium in the Suns’ second-half home opener. It will be Wang’s first professional start since he pitched for the New York Yankees on July 4, 2009.

The start will be Wang’s first action since signing a $2 million deal as a free agent with the Washington Nationals in 2010. He has spent the last two seasons rehabilitating a shoulder injury with inconsistent results. He never took the mound outside of instructional league outings last season and started this one on the disabled list.

Wang’s Hagerstown start was first reported by the Washington Post, followed by various other news outlets on Friday. Wang will be the third Nationals player to rehab in Hagerstown this season, following third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (June 6) and reliever Chad Gaudin (June 19).

Wang was 55-26 with a 4.18 ERA in five seasons with the Yankees, including a pair of 19-win seasons in 2006 and ’07. He allowed 701 hits and 197 walks while striking out 310 in 670 2/3 innings.

Injuries have knocked Wang out of baseball’s spotlight. The Taiwanese pitcher was a major find when the Yankees signed him in 2000 and was considered New York’s ace in 2006 and ’07. It all began to unravel when a misstep while running the bases started a series of injuries that ended Wang’s time with the Yankees and all but ended his career.

On June 15, 2008, Wang severely injured his right foot while running the bases against Houston in an interleague game. After a long rehab stint, Wang missed the rest of the season.

Wang started 2009 with an 0-3 record and a 34.50 ERA. He was diagnosed with weakness in his hip muscles — attributed to changes in his delivery because of the foot injury — and was placed on the disabled list. He returned to the Yankees but then was placed on the DL in July after season-ending shoulder surgery. It ended his stay in New York and he has not pitched since.

Wang was projected to join Washington in late April or early May, but suffered setbacks. He pitched one inning in a minor league intrasquad game in spring training and stopped because of shoulder pain.

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