Dodgers Decline to Sign Veteran Wang

The memory of the struggle Jason Schmidt had in his attempts to come back from shoulder surgery is still fresh in their minds and after watching him throw, the Dodgers have decided to not pursue starting pitcher Chien-Ming Wang.

  Wang, who turns 30 next month, won 19 games in back-to-back seasons for Joe Torre's Yankees in 2006-07, could make only 15 starts in 2008 because of a foot injury and was 55-25 over his first four seasons before undergoing surgery. Wang earned $5 million last year, but was non-tendered by the Yankees.

Torre was understandably interested in the pitcher, calling him "a special young man" but he is still not throwing off the mound and after General manager Ned Colletti, assistant GM Logan White and Special Assistant GM Bill Mueller watched him during a workout in Phoenix, they decided to pass on him.

White watched Wang throw two weeks ago, and the club believes he will not be game-ready until May or later.

The Mets, Giants, Dodgers, Red Sox, Pirates and Padres were among the teams looking at former Yomiuri Giants left-hander Hisanori Takahashi. According to ESPN, it came down to the Dodgers and the Mets and the Mets signed him for a base salary of $1 million, with the opportunity to earn an additional $2 million in performance bonuses.

The Dodgers continue to search for a fifth starter to join Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Hiroki Kuroda and Vincente Padilla.

Similar to a Cecil B. DeMille movie, they will have a "cast of thousands" in the mix for the final starting slot during spring training.

Candidates on the 40-man roster include (in no particular order) Dodgers minor league pitcher of the year Scott Elbert, knuckleballer Charlie Haeger who pitched very well but briefly last season, James McDonald who made three starts for L.A. in 2009, Carlos Monasterios (who was recommended by scout Ron Rizzi, who sent Ronald Belisario to the Dodgers last year) and old reliable Eric Stults as well as non-roster invitees to get a look include Ramon Ortiz, Russ Ortiz, Josh Tower, Josh Lindblom, who might also stick in the bullpen and perhaps Chris Withrow.

Dodger Blue Notes-- Participating in the Dodgers five-day pitching minicamp were Kershaw, Billingsley, Elbert, Haeger, Lindblom, McDonald and Stults, Rule 5 selection from Venezuela Carlos Monasterios, and former White Sox prospect John Ely. ...Stults is out of options, while Monasterios and Zerpa must be offered back to their previous clubs if the Dodgers don't keep them on the active roster. ...The Dodgers re-signed minor league free agent catcher J.D. Closser and free agent catcher Justin Knoeder. Former Dodgers Mark Hendrickson and Will Ohman signed with the Chicago White Sox. Henderson will receive a $1.2 million contract. Infielder Hector Luna signed with the Marlins.

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