Nats righty Wang looks good in intrasquad start

Nats righty Wang looks good in intrasquad start

Nats righty Wang looks good in intrasquad start
VIERA Fla. -- Manager Davey Johnson was "really pleased" with what he saw Monday afternoon from right-hander Chien-Ming Wang, who pitched in a Minor League intrasquad game at the Nationals' Minor League complex.

Wang pitched two innings and allowed one unearned run on three hits. Wang threw 31 pitches, and 25 of them went for strikes. His fastball was clocked as high as 91 mph. It was also a game in which Wang threw a curveball, a pitch he started throwing this spring.

"I thought he threw the ball well. The only thing he got hurt on were on curveballs. He tried to throw a few too soon. He mainly used his fastball," pitching coach Steve McCatty said. "I thought these two innings were better than his first two innings at the start of a game last year. Today, I thought there was better arm strength. The movement was good. I was real pleased with it."

Johnson said Wang looked better than he did in his last Major League start, which was on Sept. 24 of last year. In that game, he pitched six innings and allowed a run against the Braves.

"It's what I was expecting and I wasn't disappointed," Johnson said about Wang's start on Monday. "It's nice to know he feels healthy to even add another pitch. I was really pleased with what I saw, really. ... What I'm seeing now, I kind of got him in that [Stephen] Strasburg mode. He's back. Now it's giving him as much work as he needs to get ready for opening the season. I was very pleased, very pleased."

A year ago at this time, Wang was still recovering from a right shoulder injury and started the season on the disabled list. He didn't return to action until late July and made a good impression, going 4-3 with a 4.04 ERA in 11 starts.

Wang's best years were with the Yankees. In 2006 and '07, Wang won a combined 38 games. Asked if he could be as productive as he was with the Yankees, Wang said, "I just want to look at the positive side, do my best, work out as hard as I can and build my arm strength, and we will see. I just want to perform."

Wang is slated for his first Grapefruit League action against the Mets on Saturday at Space Coast Stadium.

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.