Not more than 10 minutes after the New York Yankees granted right-hander Chien-Ming Wang his release, he was said to be in the rotation of the Toronto Blue Jays and starting their game Tuesday night.
Reporter Andy McCullough of the Newark Star-Ledger was among those who had news of his release first. Ken Rosenthal of Fox added the surprising bit about Wang's next scheduled appearance:
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) June 7, 2013
Less than a week ago, Wang's representatives said he probably would be staying with the Yankees organization in the minor leagues, despite an out clause in Wang's contract, because no team had offered him a major-league deal. Until the Blue Jays stepped up, apparently. Life sure changes fast in Major League Baseball.
Wang showed great promise with a sinking fastball when he came over from Taiwan to the Yankees in 2005, but injuries — many of which stemmed from a foot problem in 2008 that preceded a torn shoulder capsule in 2009 — have eaten at his career. He's made a total of 40 starts, with the Yankees and Nationals, since the start of the '08 season.
Now at 33 years old, Wang has been trying to get batters out with a sinker reduced in velocity. He pitched well in the World Baseball Classic in March, but the results in the minors have been mixed, and the Yankees — who have needed help in the major league rotation — refused to call him up by May 31. They've been more encouraged by the rehab of right-hander Michael Pineda, and did not see a spot opening for Wang. When the Blue Jays finally showed interest in bringing Wang directly the majors, he made the Yankees cut him.
MLB trade Rumors reports that Wang made nine starts for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, posting a 2.33 ERA with a great 1.6 BB/9 ratio but a troubling 3.9 strikeouts per nine innings. That wouldn't get it done in the majors.
This gives the Jays a rotation of R.A. Dickey, Josh Johnson and Wang — along with Mark Buehrle and Esmil Rogers. Johnson also is returning from an injury.