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Wang departs for U.S. to start spring training

2012/01/12 22:01:51

Taipei, Jan. 12 (CNA) Taiwanese Major League Baseball pitcher Chien-Ming Wang departed for the United States Thursday to prepare for the start of spring training with the Washington Nationals.

Prior to his departure from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, the MLB star wished everybody a happy Chinese New Year, and added that his leaving for the U.S. a little later in January than usual had "nothing to do with Saturday's presidential election."

Wang, 31, also offered his congratulations to fellow Taiwanese left-handed pitcher Chen Wei-yin on sealing a three-year contract worth US$11,338,000 (about NT$340 million) with the Baltimore Orioles earlier this month.

The 26-year-old Chen, who has spent his entire professional career in Japan with the Chunichi Dragons, will become the first Taiwanese player to have played at the top echelon of Japanese professional baseball and then play for a U.S. major league team.

Wang, a native of Tainan in southern Taiwan, was sidelined for nearly two years with a serious shoulder injury, but returned to the major leagues with the Nats in July 2011. He finished the season with a 4-3 record, with a 4.04 ERA in 11 starts. The Nats re-signed him on a one-year, US$4 million deal in December.

(By Bien Chin-feng and Deborah Kuo)