Taipei-Former New York Yankees ace pitcher Chien-Ming Wang of Taiwan said Thursday that he still has high hopes of returning to the U.S. major league and has no plans to retire just yet.
Speaking to the press on Thursday, the 37-year-old righty, who has not played professionally for over a year, said he is just waiting for a chance to return to Major League Baseball (MLB).
"I spent all these years playing baseball, which is something I love and have been doing every day," he said.
Wang said he is "kind of afraid" that if he chooses to retire now he will lose the main focus of his life.
Playing as the Yankees starting pitcher from 2005 to 2008, Wang had back-to-back 19-win seasons in 2006 and 2007 before suffering a foot injury that precipitated a career slide.
After bouncing around the minor leagues for three years, Wang signed a minor league contract with the Kansas City Royals during the 2016 offseason.
The Royals later included Wang on their 25-man roster for the 2016 season, during which he made 38 appearances, compiling a 6-0 record and an ERA of 4.22. He worked 53 1/3 innings out of the bullpen, with 30 strikeouts and 18 walks.
Wang last appeared in the MLB on Aug. 30, 2016, after which he was placed on the team's 15-day disabled list with tendonitis in his right arm.
Wang's 2016 season ended on September that year after the Royals designated him for assignment, making him a free agent.
Wang said that over the past year as a free agent, he had been spending most of his time in the U.S. preparing to play at any time.
Despite the uncertainty about his future, Wang said, he will not give up because he thinks he still has what it takes to return to the major league.
Professional teams in U.S., rather than Asian teams, are still his top choice, he said, adding that he has spent most of his time in the U.S. and might have difficulty adjusting to Asian leagues.
Wang is in Taiwan for a five-day pitching camp that opened Monday in Taipei for local baseball players.
The camp is being hosted by a five-member group from the Florida Baseball Ranch (FBR), led by ranch owner Randy Sullivan, at the invitation of the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL), the top-tier professional baseball league in Taiwan.
Source: Overseas Community Affairs Council