NL East News: Washington Nationals activate Chien-Ming Wang

The Washington Nationals have activated starting pitcher Chien-Ming Wang from the 15-day DL, and the 32-year-old right-hander has finally recovered from a hamstring injury that he suffered before the season. Wang has some trade interest, but he will not be in the rotation as once thought due to the strong play of Ross Detwiler. He will be utilized as a long reliever for the team, and I think there is a high chance that he ends up getting traded this year. There isn’t any strong interest out there and the rumors are reserved to minor rumblings, but Wang is an expendable piece and is better off on a team that can use him as a starter.

March 15, 2012; Melbourne, FL, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Chien-Ming Wang (40) throws a pitch during the spring training game against the New York Yankees at Space Coast Stadium. The Yankees defeated Washington 8 to 5. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE

Wang’s return from the DL came at a good time due to the injury that befell reliever Ryan Mattheus. The right-hander was placed on the 15-day DL with a partial tear in the plantar fascia (left foot, retroactive to the 21st of May). Mattheus has a 2.25 ERA this season in 20 innings and had been suffering from the injury for a few weeks. Although it sounds like an awful injury, it isn’t as bad as it sounds but will still cost him a few weeks and will force him to wear a walking boot. However, Mattheus will be able to throw and lift during this time span.

There is some more news surrounding the New York Mets, and it involves much-discussed first baseman Ike Davis. He has looked overwhelmed at the plate this year, and some fans are about to give up on Davis, who was regarded before the season as one of the core players on the team due to his talent and youth.

Davis will be back in the starting lineup tonight to face off against the Pittsburgh Pirates, after the frigid-hitting (cold wasn’t enough) 1B struck out for the last out of the game yesterday. He is hitting just .161 with 41 strikeouts in 40 games this year.

Some believe that the Mets should demote Ike Davis and risk shattering the 25-year-old’s confidence. However, demoting him could also help him regain his confidence and help him in the long run. The Mets are taking the conservative approach right now, but things will definitely take a different turn if Davis doesn’t improve. I hope he does, and I think he will with some time, even if it takes an eventual demotion to get things straight; the Mets have to risk it and take that option if need be.

Second baseman Daniel Murphy also made a pinch-hit appearance in the final inning yesterday, even though it was his scheduled day off. The solid-hitting, poor-fielding 2B is back in the line-up and still searching for his first home run of the year, which isn’t surprising given that he usually hits only five per year and is on pace for that much anyway.

However, he is a good OBP-guy, and Daniel Murphy has a .317 batting average and a .362 OBP to give him a .331 wOBA and 111 wRC+ this season, despite a meager .331 slugging percentage. After a 3.2 WAR breakout 2011 campaign (124 wRC+ and inflated UZR), Murphy is on pace for a league-average 2 WAR season despite some horrendous defense this season. He will hit for more extra-base power as the season goes on and up that slugging percentage, so a 2 WAR season (pre-season projection of 1.7 WAR) is definitely likely, even with the poor defense that UZR finally reflects properly.

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Topics: Chien-Ming Wang, Daniel Murphy, Ike Davis, New York Mets, Ross Detwiler, Ryan Mattheus, Washington Nationals

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