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Chien-Ming Wang returns home to join Team Taiwan for WBC tournament

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Former Washington Nationals starter Chien-Ming Wang (王建民) returned to Taiwan from the United States yesterday morning in preparation for the upcoming World Baseball Classic (WBC) tournament this March.

Speaking to reporters upon his arrival at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, Wang said he had been training in the U.S. in preparation for the upcoming tournament.

Wang also confirmed that he has remained in contact with several Major League Baseball (MLB) teams that have shown interest in singing him.

The former Washington Nationals starter said, however, that he has not made up his mind with regard to which team he will be joining for the next MLB season, and that his top priority right now is to play for his country at the WBC.

Rumors have emerged claiming that both the New York Yankees and the Texas Rangers are interested in singing Wang.

Wang is currently without an MLB contract and hopes his play in the WBC will get him a major league deal soon.

Wang will be representing his country at the WBC for the first time this March.

The 32-year-old failed to join the squad twice, first in 2006 and later in 2009.

The last time he played for Taiwan was in the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

According to local reports, Wang is scheduled to join up with the national squad this Sunday. The team is currently undergoing training in Taichung, where the WBC first-round matches will be held next month.

WBC first-round matches will be played in Fukuoka, Japan; Taichung, Taiwan; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Phoenix, Arizona.

Only the top two finishers in each pool will move to the second round after three games.

Taiwan will be facing South Korea, Australia and the Netherlands on their home turf starting from March 2.

Taiwan's national squad manager Hsieh Chang-heng (謝長亨) previously said that Wang could be the starting pitcher against the Australians if the right-hander proves to be ready.

Meanwhile, ex-Los Angeles Dodgers setup man Hong-Chih Kuo (郭泓志) joined the national team for training on Tuesday. The Taiwanese left-hander is also without a MLB contract and is reportedly looking forward to use the tournament to gain MLB attention.

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