Interest has Wang rethinking timetable

Updated: January 28, 2010, 7:17 PM ET
By Jayson Stark | ESPN.com

Chien-Ming Wang is reconsidering his plan not to return from shoulder surgery until a couple of months into the season, the former Yankee's agent told ESPN.com Thursday.

Wang
Wang

Alan Nero said that "four or five teams" are now pursuing Wang more aggressively than expected. So the 29-year-old right-hander could sign before spring training if "someone makes an offer we can't say no to."

One team that could find Wang especially appealing at the moment is the New York Mets, whose starting-pitching options are dwindling with spring training three weeks away. The Mets, who are also looking at John Smoltz and Braden Looper, have been monitoring Wang's progress closely, but would prefer to sign a pitcher who could pitch a full season.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are another team that has expressed interest and watched Wang throw in Arizona recently. The St. Louis Cardinals also have been linked to Wang this winter.

Since there is no firm date for when Wang will be ready, clubs have been proceeding slowly. And that seemed to be fine with Wang and his agents, who have been marketing him mostly as an early-to-midseason option, like Pedro Martinez.

"Our plan was to get him 100 percent healthy, so there was no risk on the team's part," Nero said. "And that's still our plan, and we're following it. But we didn't expect teams to be coming forward with offers, and that's what's happening."

Nero said Wang is "throwing without pain," and is "two to four weeks behind" where he would normally be this close to spring training, but is on target to "make a major-league start sometime in the first two weeks of May."

Clubs that have monitored Wang sounded more skeptical about that prognosis.

Wang missed the second half of the 2008 season with a foot injury. Then, his 2009 season was derailed by shoulder issues. He underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair a tear in his right shoulder capsule on July 29.

Jayson Stark is a senior baseball writer for ESPN.com.

Jayson Stark | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com