Wang has rare chances to build confidence
MILWAUKEE -- Seldom-used Brewers reliever Wei-Chung Wang knows he has the support of his teammates. On Friday night, he could hear it from the dugout.
With some help from translator Jay Hsu, Brewers starters Kyle Lohse and Matt Garza were calling out "Let's go!" in Chinese as Wang took the mound to work a scoreless eighth inning.
"They yelled very loud. I heard everything," Wang said Saturday morning. "It had been so long since I pitched, I felt their support."
Wang, a Rule 5 pick whom the Brewers hope to get through the season so they can add him to the organization's stable of starting pitching prospects next year, worked around a leadoff double in a scoreless inning against the Cubs on Friday, then pitched two more innings Saturday for the first back-to-back outings of his Major League career.
He was an out away from consecutive scoreless appearances when Cubs pinch-hitter Justin Ruggiano tripled past a diving Ryan Braun in the ninth inning and scored on an Emilio Bonifacio single. Wang recovered to finish the inning with no more damage.
"First inning, really good, efficient with his pitches, throwing strikes," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "Mixed up some breaking balls in there, so I thought that was good. Next inning, Ruggiano got one ball down the line, but besides that, I thought he threw the ball really well."
The Brewers hope the work provides a confidence boost.
"Like we talked about, we need this guy to pick up innings for us, and we need him confident to where he can pick up innings," Roenicke said.
The Brewers staged a simulated game for Wang on Wednesday to help him cover his latest layoff from pitching. Rehabbing third baseman Aramis Ramirez served as the hitter.
"In the simulated game, for 'Rami' to stand in there was totally different from just a bullpen," Wang said, with Hsu translating. "I felt better, more like a real game. It's helpful. I could really use my changeup and curveball."