Wang is a rarity in the Yankees' high-rent rotation because he is young and inexpensive and is the first solid starter they have developed since Andy Pettitte. If Wang's shoulder does not hamper him, Yankees officials say they believe he can soar near the top of their rotation. By the way, the next great Yankee pitcher still lives with his parents during the off-season in Tainan, Taiwan.
"It's easier for me to go with my family," Wang said recently. "My mom is a good cook."
So, after the baseball season, Wang returns to the home he has lived in since he was 7 years old. Same room, same everything. Well, almost the same everything. Wang is married now, but explained that it is logical for him and his wife to bunk with his family because he is in Tainan for such a brief period.
Gene Michael, a special adviser, gushed about Wang's effortless delivery and how it helps unnerve hitters. Michael said Wang was so smooth in attacking hitters that he "controls their bat speed" better than anyone on the staff by changing his velocity.
"I've never seen a pitcher who is so calm," Michael said. "He's almost sleepy out there."
[Alex] Rodriguez remembered walking from third base to the mound to offer Wang encouragement during a tense game and realizing he did not need to be there.
"There was no fear," Rodriguez said. "He was ready for the challenge."
As Wang readies for his first full season in the major leagues, he could end up becoming as vital as Johnson or Mussina. He might be the only Yankee who still lives with his parents and, no matter how much he achieves in 2006, those distinct living arrangements will not change.