Bruney would welcome Wang on Nats
Reliever feels ex-teammate would be serious boon
Reliever Brian Bruney said Wednesday that former Yankees teammate Chien-Ming Wang would be a good fit with the Nationals.
Last week, it was reported by MLB.com that Washington was monitoring Wang's progress. The Nationals are believed to be a finalist for his services.
When Wang is healthy, he has a great sinker that usually means a long night for opposing hitters, according to Bruney, who is expected to be a late-inning reliever for Washington.
"I think he is capable of going out there and eating up a lot of innings," Bruney said via phone. "He is a ground-ball pitcher. He has a Brandon Webb type of sinker. He competes, man. He is going to get better. He is still learning, as we all are."
The past two seasons, however, Wang has pitched in a combined 27 games. In 2008, Wang didn't pitch after the All-Star break because of foot problems. This past season, Wang had arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder and missed the Yankees' World Series run in October.
Bruney believes the foot problems Wang had eventually led to his shoulder problems.
"He had that foot injury, which I also had. That is a tough one to come back from," Bruney said. "You really don't realize how important your feet are until you don't use them. I'm sure that put a little strain on his shoulder."
At his best, Wang showed that he can be the ace of a pitching staff. In 2006 and '07, Wang went a combined 38-13 with a 3.67 ERA for the Yankees.
"When he is healthy, he is as good as there is. I got to witness this for a couple of years," Bruney said. "When he takes the ball, there is a pretty good chance opponents may not be in the game because he could go through some innings with that sinker.
"He has a low pitch count. He will always battle late into the game. I hope he wants to become a member of the Nationals. He's a great teammate and an excellent clubhouse guy. He works hard and I would enjoy having him as a teammate again."
Washington has serious interest in signing Wang, but the two parties are not close to a deal, according to a baseball source. Wang is expected to make a decision within the next seven to 10 days.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.