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Still no contract, but Chien-Ming Wang not retiring

2018/01/08 22:01:21

CNA file photo

Taipei, Jan. 8 (CNA) Former New York Yankees pitcher Chien-Ming Wang (王建民) said Monday he went through 2017 without a contract to pitch in the United States because of his age and physical issues, but he still does not want to call it a career, at least not yet.

The 37-year-old right-hander is in Taiwan for part of this offseason to attend a training camp for pitchers organized by the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL), the top-tier professional baseball league in Taiwan, public charity activities and a NIKE baseball camp.

On Monday, Wang was working out at Tainan Municipal Baseball Stadium and was invited to talk to young pitchers of the Uni-President Lions, a CPBL team based in the southern Taiwan city.

Speaking with reporters, Wang said he was not able to get a contract in 2017 after pitching in a relief role for the Kansas City Royals in 2016 because he wasn't the same physically as he was a year earlier and he didn't have the same velocity on his pitches.

"The most important thing now is to get my velocity back," he said.

The fact that his role has been established has also limited his opportunities, Wang said.

"Baseball organizations are not that willing to sign an older pitcher who is also a middle reliever," Wang said. "They prefer to call up their own pitchers."

Since starring for the New York Yankees from 2005 to 2009, Wang spent two years in the Washington Nationals organization in 2011 and 2012 and then did stints in the New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, Cincinnati Reds, Chicago White Sox, Atlanta Braves, and Seattle Mariners organizations before joining the Royals in 2016.

He once said a few years ago that he wanted to give himself two years to search for an opportunity to return to the major leagues, but Wang is thinking differently now.

He will no longer set any timetable for retirement, he said, "(I'm) already 37 years old. (I) will play if there's a chance, but if there aren't, I won't."

Wang had back-to-back 19-win seasons in 2006 and 2007 before suffering a foot injury in 2008 that precipitated his career slide.

The Royals designated Wang for assignment in September 2016.

(By Huang Chiao-wen and Elizabeth Hsu)