WASHINGTON -- Nationals right-hander Chien-Ming Wang threw a bullpen session in front of manager Davey Johnson at Nationals Park on Friday afternoon. The skipper liked what he saw.
Johnson still doesn't know his plan for the pitcher. There is a strong possibility that Wang could work out of the bullpen. Left-hander John Lannan is still expected to replace Stephen Strasburg in the rotation once the ace is shut down on Sept. 12.
"That's the best I've seen him since the spring. He was outstanding. It was a great 'pen," Johnson said. "I haven't seen him in a while -- three or four months. I don't have to make a decision at this minute. ... He kept the ball down, his velocity is as strong as a bull. He had a good breaking ball, good changeup, good four-seamer, good two-seamer, good command. ... If he was throwing like he was today, it would be off the charts."
Johnson hasn't seen much of Wang because he has missed most of the Major League season due to injuries. The righty started the season on the disabled list because of a strained left hamstring.
When he returned in May, Wang spent most of the time in the rotation, but was demoted to the bullpen by June after being ineffective. Wang then spent most of the second half of the season on the DL because of a right hip injury.
Wang made 15 Minor League rehab starts and went 4-6 with a 5.51 ERA, but that didn't seem to bother Johnson.
"A lot of it down there is, you try to overthrow. You try to do too much," Johnson said. "When he started his 'pen [on Friday], he was overthrowing, everything. He is a very competitive pitcher, very driven. He settled in and didn't try to overthrow. ... It was off the chart. That can happen."