VIERA, Fla. -- Though his surgically repaired shoulder is healed and he's experienced no issues since returning to the big leagues last summer, Chien-Ming Wang is taking things a bit easier than his pitching teammates this spring as the Nationals use extra precautions with the veteran right-hander.
Wang, who threw his first bullpen session of camp Tuesday, would normally have returned to the mound today with everyone else from his throwing group. But in consultation with pitching coach Steve McCatty and manager Davey Johnson, Wang pushed back his session til tomorrow and will proceed throwing on a three-day schedule as opposed to the every-other-day schedule the rest of the staff follows.
Wang said the extra rest should be helpful after spending two seasons recovering from major shoulder surgery and experiencing more problems when he attempted to throw every other day.
"Last year spring training ... my arm was stiff," he said.
Wang reiterated that his shoulder "feels good, no problems," and that he emerged from Tuesday's bullpen session with no pain or soreness. It's a huge relief for the 31-year-old, who for the first time in a long time isn't worried about the state of his shoulder.
"The last two years were kind of difficult," he said. "This year, the body is fresh and everything is good. I'm focused on getting ready."
Even if Wang stays healthy, the Nationals will proceed a bit more cautiously with him this spring. Johnson said Wang will likely pitch a simulated game before facing opposing teams in the Grapefruit League, "to let him not feel like he's thrown right onto the bus right out of the jump chute."