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Nats sign Wang to $4 million deal for 2012

Nats sign Wang to $4 million deal for 2012

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Nats sign Wang to $4 million deal for 2012
WASHINGTON -- The Nationals made it official on Friday, signing right-hander Chien-Ming Wang to a one-year, $4 million deal.

It has been known for weeks that Wang wanted to return to the Nationals, who stuck by him after he missed almost three years with a torn right shoulder capsule that dated back to his days with the Yankees.

Wang was productive in his 2011 return, going 4-3 with a 4.04 ERA in 11 starts, and he will likely be third in the rotation, behind right-handers Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann, next season.

General manager Mike Rizzo said that the negotiations between the Nationals and Wang were amicable. The Nats were trying to add an option to the contract, but Wang and his agent, Alan Nero, declined.

"That was a big part of the negotiations," Rizzo said. "We, of course, wanted to do a team option. If we feel a healthy Chien-Ming Wang has a terrific year for us, he is back out on the market as a free agent. For that reason, Chien-Ming did not want a club option because of the same reasons. We kicked around a mutual option, but that didn't make much sense to either side.

"At this price point that we signed Chien-Ming, a one-year deal is what Chien-Ming wanted. He wants to prove that he is a healthy pitcher, get back on the market and become a free agent as a healthy starter with a full healthy season under his belt."

Manager Davey Johnson had made it clear that he wanted Wang back.

"There is no doubt about it," Johnson said. "If I'm here, he could have my salary."

Wang credits the Nationals for not giving up on him even though it took so long to recover from the shoulder injury.

"I am appreciative of the opportunity and all the support the Nationals gave me to make the comeback," Wang said in a statement. "I am excited about next season, playing together with my teammates, and look forward to doing my best to help the Nationals to the playoffs."

Unlike last year, Wang will not be on an innings limit or be concerned about pitch counts.

"He is a veteran horse that we can count on," Rizzo said. "We feel what we saw at the end of the season, he should come to Spring Training 100 percent and 100 percent ready to go."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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