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Taiwan's Shao-Ching Chiang 'threw the crap out of the ball' in Tigers' debut

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

Lakeland, Fla. — Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire had no idea what to expect with Taiwanese right-hander Shao-Ching Chiang.

Why would he? He hadn’t seen the non-roster invitee throw a pitch all spring.

Slowed early with a back injury, Chiang made his spring debut Thursday against the Yankees. It was, to say the least, eye-opening.

Taiwanese right-hander Shao-Ching Chiang

“He threw the crap out of the ball,” Gardenhire said.

Chiang, 26, spent the last eight years in the Cleveland Indians system, starting at Triple-A Columbus the last two years. The reports were that he threw in the low- to mid-90s. The reports lied. Chiang’s fastball clocked as high as 98 mph on Thursday and was sitting between 96-97.

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“I didn’t know he had that velo,” Gardenhire said. “I thought mid-90s and then I saw the gun. That was impressive. He had a good breaking ball, too. 

"We waited all spring to see it, but it was impressive.”

Gardenhire said there’s been no discussion on what role Chiang would have, though almost certainly he will start the season at Triple-A Toledo.

“It’s hard to say what he’s going to be,” Gardenhire said. “We just hadn’t seen him do anything. I hadn’t even seen him throw a bullpen. That was a good surprise.”

Twitter: @cmccosky