Wang even better in second rehab start
Tosses seven-inning four-hit shutout of Clippers
Chien-Ming Wang tossed a seven-inning four-hit shutout Sunday afternoon as Scranton/Wilkes-Barre took the opener of a doubleheader against visiting Columbus, 3-0. The rehabbing Yankees starter threw 75 pitches, 49 of them for strikes.
Facing a Clippers lineup featuring big leaguers Travis Hafner, Andy Marte and Tony Graffanino that entered the game hitting an International League-best .285, Wang was efficient. In his first six innings, his longest frame lasted 11 pitches. The seventh, in which he allowed two hits -- a broken-bat bloop to Hafner and a swinging bunt to Columbus catcher Chris Gimenez -- required 16 offerings.
Wang's fastball didn't reach higher than 92 on the PNC Field radar gun, but his command was strong and he didn't issued any walks. He recorded 12 ground-ball outs against eight flyouts on a windy day in Moosic, Pa.
"My sinker is moving well," Wang said. "I felt it right away."
After Wang set down the Clippers in order in the first inning, Yankees right fielder Shelley Duncan launched a two-out, two-run blast over the right-field fence to give Wang all the run support he would need. The homer was Scranton/Wilkes-Barre's first in 69 2/3 innings and Duncan's International League-leading 11th of the season.
In the third, Wang yielded a one-out single to Graffanino on a grounder through the left side of the infield, but enticed the next batter, Doug Bernier, into a routine 4-6-3 double play. Gimenez led off the fifth with a double into the left-field corner and later moved to third on a groundout, but that was as close as the Clippers came to denting the right-hander from Taiwan.
"He didn't have the slider like he did last time," said Yankees GM Brian Cashman, who has been on hand for both starts. "Performance-wise, he did terrific. This is a much better hitting club, but his stuff was better last time although he performed great today."
The Yankees managed just four hits, but two of them left the yard. Todd Linden hit a long solo shot to right with two outs in the third.
Wang has not allowed a run while scattering seven hits and three walks over 13 innings in his two rehab stars. He avoided being hit by batted balls Sunday -- which he could not do in his first start when Josh Kroeger lined one off his left leg -- although he did have to occasionally dodge pieces of broken Columbus bats.
Cashman also got a chance to see Brian Bruney, who started the second game of the doubleheader, which Scranton/Wilkes-Barre lost, 2-1. Bruney allowed a run on two hits. His fastball clocked in at 94 mph and Cashman said he "looks healthy."
"That's the biggest thing for him," Cashman said. "Unlike Wang, he's coming off an elbow injury. You want to see health, and I saw health."
The next steps for Wang and Bruney haven't yet been determined.
"The only urgency is to get it right and make sure we put them in a position where they'll help us and finish off properly," Cashman said.
John Parker is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.