Staring pitchers throw at least once between starts, sometimes twice. But those session are in the bullpen early in the day with only a catcher and the pitching coach there.
So it was a little strange on Wednesday when Chien-Ming Wang took the mound at Tropicana Field and threw 21 pitches to Cody Ransom and Melky Cabrera.
Dave Eiland stood behind Wang. Joe Girardi was behind the cage, getting a close look at Wang’s pitches with bullpen coach Mike Harkey. David Cone, who knows quite a lot about pitching, was there as well. The Yankees had catcher Kyle Higashioka come over from Tampa to catch the session. He was a seventh-round draft pick last June.
Credit Eiland with a good idea. After two dreadful outings, Wang needed to take his adjustments out of the bullpen and onto the field. Granted, this wasn’t a game but it was a good simulation. We’ll find out Saturday whether it helped. But Wang thinks it will.
“I felt better. My pitches were down,” he said.
Wang’s left leg appears to be the issue as it’s getting ahead of the rest of his body and leaving his arm trailing behind. It’s a fairly easy thing to fix but Wang has not taken those adjustments out into the game.
I asked Wang later on about his confidence and he assured me it was back. The session on the field helped, he said. “It was good to be out there and throw the ball,” he said. “I feel better.”
Mark Feinsand has some more insight on Wang over on Blogging The Bombers.