Friday, February 25, 2011

Steve McCatty On Chien-Ming Wang

When he steps to the mound on a practice field today to throw live batting practice again, many front office eyes from Our Washington Nationals Staff will be closely watching Chien-Ming Wang. Attempting to return from nearly two years out of baseball due to injury, Wang has pitched without pain so far in training camp and is hoping to return to the Big Leagues this season.

Yesterday, Nats320 talked with Nationals Pitching Coach Steve McCatty about Chien-Ming Wang's developments.  Here is that conversation:

Nats320: You’ve now seen Chien-Ming Wang pitch three or four times this spring. Do you feel he’s finally turning the corner in returning to the player he was before his injury problems?

McCatty: Yes, I do.  He’s feeling better every time out. The velocity is not there or what it was three or four years ago. But also, we are not playing any games yet and it’s still early. But I do believe he’s getting better and better.

Nats320: We read the other day you made an adjustment in his arm slot. What was the reason for that.

McCatty: By moving his head, we were able to get his arm in a better slot to throw. He’s was leaning to far back. He’s a little more athletic than others, so we needed to get his weight over his legs (for better power).

Nats320: Despite his velocity not back to what it was before, has he regained the feel for his pitches?

McCatty: Oh yeah. He’s throwing some really good breaking balls. He’s got some real good movement on the ball. He’s got real good movement on all his pitches. His changeup has been good, everything has been positive.

Nats320: That being said, do you think he’s advanced enough to make it back this year in the big leagues?

McCatty: Hopefully, every time he goes out to throw he’s not had any problems or any soreness at all. He’s been able to complete all his bullpens and throw batting practice. Every time he goes out he gets a little better.  We’ll see, that’s the plan (shrugging his shoulders).  I hope he’s well enough, but like anything else, you’ve got to see how it goes.

Nats320: Has it surprised you that he’s actually put himself in a position to be considered nearly ready to go?

McCatty: No, not really, not from what I’ve heard about him (from training staff). Everything I’ve heard is that things got better from when he was in Instructional League.  So no, I’m not  really surprised. He looks a whole lot better than the last time I saw him.  He’s putting in the time and making the effort.

Nats320: He’s one of the most intriguing stories of camp because if he can make it all the way back, this staff improves greatly.

McCatty: That’s the plan but once the games begin we’ll see what happens. Only then will we find out for sure.

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