WANG NOT THROWING HARD
By all accounts of this morning's first official workouts, Chien-Ming Wang still isn't close to throwing full out from a mound.
Now, I'm by no means a pitching expert, and my eye for these things isn't anywhere in the same area code as Steve McCatty and the rest of the coaching staff. But Wang sure wasn't throwing the ball with much oomph. He's got a very slow, deliberate motion, so that can make things look a little deceptive. But the ball wasn't coming out of his hand with nearly as much velocity as the other guys pitching alongside him.
Most of the other pitchers looked fine, but Wang's arm strength just isn't there yet. He's going to start on the DL, and it could be a couple months before he's ready to pitch in the majors.
Several pitchers threw bullpen sessions, including Chien-Ming Wang, and the low level of intensity of his session shows why he believes he'll probably have to start 2011 in the minors, building up innings.
Anyone surprised by this development? I was very surprised Mike Rizzo brought Wang back after Wang's failure to pitch competitively last season. It's almost like he's doing him a favor. Wang himself said the other day that he wouldn't be ready before May. Didn't we hear that last season as well?
I frankly don't expect to ever see Wang pitch at Nats Park.
STRASBURG PLAYS CATCH
Stephen Strasburg, recovering from the world's most famous Tommy John surgery, threw lightly from about 45 feet with trainer Lee Kuntz. It's the first baby step in a process that will last all season and perhaps into the off-season and next year. But the Nats have to be extremely cautious with their franchise arm.
FLORES BACK BEHIND THE DISH
Jesus Flores participated fully in the bullpen sessions, taking pitches and throwing back tot he pitchers without any difficulty. If you remember back to this time last season, he had to endure the indignity of handing the ball to a trainer to send back to the pitcher he was catching. Flores returning to Major League duty will be one of the more interesting stories to watch this spring.
MORE POSITION PLAYERS REPORTING
Michael Morse and Rick Ankiel arrived at the clubhouse in Viera today. It's encouraging that many of the position players are in camp, taking BP and shaking the rust loose before the official reporting date. But the Nats really aren't speical in that regard, it's happening all over baseball and it happens every season. Most of these guys are as anxious to get started as the fans are.
What will be really interesting is when Bryce Harper hits the big league clubhouse, expected in the next day or so. Will he be another media distraction? How will he fit into the clubhouse? Is Ladson's rental car safely parked far enough away to escape BP homers from crashing into the windshield?
Oh, and the phemon is now on twitter (@BHarp34). Of course he is.