The yankees' $50
million rotation includes a five-time Cy Young winner ( Randy Johnson), the
sixth-winningest pitcher in the majors over the last decade ( Mike Mussina) and
two other All-Stars ( Shawn Chacon and Carl Pavano). So who has the best stuff?
"He does," says catcher Jorge Posada, nodding toward Wang, who's
sitting quietly at his locker across the spring training clubhouse in Tampa.
"I've seen plenty of young pitchers come and go. That kid is special. He's
here to stay."
Meet the first
Taiwanese headed for major league stardom: a 25-year-old righthander who in the
off-season lives with his parents in Tainan and is as colorful as a Yankees
road jersey. "Everyone [in New York City] thinks I'm quiet because I don't
speak much English," he says, "but that's just how I am
Last season the
6'3", 200-pound Wang helped rescue an injury-ravaged staff by going 8--5
with a 4.02 ERA in 17 starts and one relief appearance after his late-April
call-up from Triple A. This year, with Pavano and Jaret Wright still nursing
injuries, Wang, whose best weapon is a tumbling sinker that he uses to induce
nearly three ground balls for every fly ball, figures to open the season as the
No. 3 starter.
This winter Wang,
who signed with the Yankees as a free agent from Taiwan in 2000, returned to
Tainan, the island's oldest and fourth-largest city, to a hero's welcome.
Already the most accomplished Taiwanese player to reach the majors, he was
invited to meet president Chen Shui-bian in Taipei. He couldn't step out of his
parents' house without getting stopped in the street by fans. Wang could do
without all the fuss. "I just tried to stay home, eat my mom's food and
watch TV," he says. "I'm happy for what I've done for Taiwan, but I
don't really need too much attention." If he has a big season, he'll be
just as popular in New York City.