Sunday, October 01, 2006
End of the Line for Chang.....
The Seibu Lions released Chih-Chia Chang on Friday. Chang, the one time phenom who also starred on the Taiwanese NT, was never able to fully recover from numerous injuries to his throwing shoulder, elbow, and back - losing nearly 10 mph off of his fastball. The sad thing about this move is the fact that Chang is only 26 years old - the same age as Chien-Ming Wang. Chang, who caught the attention of Japanese scouts in 2001 when he beat a team of Japanese pros at the World Cup, was one of the top rookies in the NPB in 2002 when he won a career high 10 games. During his prime, Chang was widely considered to be one of the best pitchers out of Taiwan - bar none. Even though his peers all suffered serious injuries early in their professional careers (Wang - shoulder/Tsao - elbow & shoulder/Kuo - elbow), two of them are now starring in the US - with the jury still out on Tsao's recovery (although Tsao did fully recover from Tommy John surgery).
Here's where I feel there is one significant advantage to playing in the US versus Japan. The US has the best sports medicine in the world - the orthopedic surgeons, the athletic trainers, etc. all play a huge hand in helping injured players return to their previous abilities. Chang, who probably needed surgical intervention, did not get this same quality of care in Japan. When you look at all the Taiwanese pitching prospects who have gone over to Japan, it is startling to see how many guys have suffered injuries while in the NPB: Tai-Yuan Kuo, Chung-Yang Tsao, Ming-Chieh Hsu, Chien-Ming Chiang, Chih-Chia Chang, Wei-Yin Chen, Ying-Chieh Lin.......I'm sure there's more, but you get the picture. The only guy who perfomed well despite suffering an injury was Tai-Yuan Kuo. I can only pray that young Yi-Hao Lin has good people watching out for his precocious arm.
It's pretty obvious where I stand on where our young prospects should go when choosing between the US and Japan.
Moving on to scores in Japan:
Lin was o-1 in a pinch hit appearance as Hanshin lost 7-1.
Chiang lost his second game of the season despite pitching well. The Giants got shutout 3-0 as Chiang lasted 8 innings, giving up 1 run on 6 hits.
Kuo sounds iffy for the Asian Games coming up in December. Read more here.