Wang to Start, Bernie to Syracuse?

Posted by Dave Nichols | Friday, July 29, 2011 | , , , | 0 comments »

The move won't be official until game time, but reports indicate that OF Roger Bernadina will be sent to the minors to activate Chien-Ming Wang for tonight's start against the New York Mets.  Bernadina, hitting .247/.312/.352 with five home runs, 20 RBI and 16-of-18 in stolen bases, has an option remaining, so he would not have to clear waivers to be sent down.

"Nothing's really official until game time," Johnson said about Bernadina's status.  "He does have options so that is a definite option but nothing will be official until I hand in my lineup card."  With the bullpen as taxed as it's been in the last week or so, the Nats have decided that carrying the extra pitcher was more improtant than the extra outfielder, especially with the acquisition of LF Jonny Gomes earlier this week.

Tom Gorzelanny, who has made 15 starts this season (2-6, 4.46), will pitch out of the pen tonight in case of the need for a long man.  Wang will be on a 80-90 pitch limit tonight as he is still building up arm strength.

Wang is making his first start since 2009 after recovering from foot, hip and major shoulder problems.  He's made six minor league rehab starts (28 2/3 innings), throwing to a 3.14 ERA and 1.116 WHIP across all levels of the Nats minor league system.

Johnson joked that he'd like to get seven innings of one-hit shutout ball from Wang tonight, but championed the Taiwan native for his perseverance and determination in returning to the big leagues after such a long rehab.  "I'm excited, just like everybody else, to see him go out and pitch," Johnson said. 

"It's taken a lot of hard work and whatever because I saw him over the winter and he was still having some problems and when I saw him in the spring he was much freer, much looser. I saw him in a couple starts early in the spring and he was throwing the ball like the old Chien-Ming.  To come back after two years is a great tribute to his work ethic."