Washington, May 22 (CNA) Taiwanese pitcher Chien-Ming Wang was added to the Washington Nationals' 25-man active roster Tuesday and will be used initially as a long reliever but could start if a member of the team's starting rotation falters.
"The team has given me this opportunity, and I would like to try my best, try to get the job done, try to help the team win," Wang said after being called up.
Pitcher Ryan Mattheus was put to the disabled list with a partial tear of his plantar fascia to make room for Wang, whom reports said would still work on a starter's schedule and will likely not be available until May 25, when the Nationals play the Braves.
"He likes to throw long (toss) and I don't know how many pitches he needs to get really feeling good. Today I'll probably warm him up during the game and count his pitches, monitor his timing," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said of Wang before the team's game on Tuesday.
The 32-year-old Taiwanese was later seen practicing in the bullpen during the Nationals' 5-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.
"He's too valuable to this organization, and his future's too valuable that I'm not going to use him as a normal reliever. I'm going to give him plenty of time while he's out there before he comes in the ballgame," Johnson was quoted as saying by the Washington Post.
Wang was slated to become the team's fifth starter until he strained his left hamstring during a spring training game. He started the season on the disabled list and was undergoing a 30-day rehab period in the minor leagues, which was to end on May 27.
Ross Detwiler took over Wang's spot in the rotation and had strong outings early in the season, going 3-2 with a 2.10 ERA.
But the 26-year-old has been roughed up in his past two starts, giving up 10 earned runs and 16 hits in 10 innings, and his ERA has ballooned to 3.65.
If he continues to falter, it could leave an opportunity for Wang, who was 3-0 in his minor league rehab assignment, though the Taiwanese right-hander did not exactly shine in his final three rehab starts.
Pitching for the Syracuse Chiefs, the Nationals' Triple-A team, Wang gave up 10 runs and 26 hits in 20 2/3 innings and had an ERA of 4.35 in those three games.
(By Tony Liao, Lee Yu-cheng, Lin Hung-han and Jamie Wang)