The Washington Times - March 15, 2012, 02:00PM

VIERA, Fla. — Washington Nationals right-hander Chien-Ming Wang has left the game in the middle of the second inning after taking a nasty fall trying to field a ground ball off the bat of New York Yankees catcher Russell Martin. Wang moved to his left to field a weak grounder by Martin and was running the ball to the first base bag when his leg appeared to buckle and he stumbled over the base and landed on his right arm.

Update: Officially, Wang left the game with what was deemed to be a left hamstring strain. We’ll get more of an when we talk to him directly. 


The Nationals trainers came out immediately to check on Wang, who forced Martin to hurdle over him as he was gunning down the first base line, and they decided to take him out of the game after a very brief conversation. Wang underwent almost two years of rehab on his right shoulder after undergoing surgery to repair a torn capsule and working his way, finally, back to the big leagues last July. 

There were some uncomfortable parallels for the Nationals and Wang in the way he was injured, given that in 2008 Wang injured his foot running the bases as a member of the Yankees and, as a result of his altered mechanics to compensate for his foot pain, injured his shoulder.

Chad Durbin came into the game cold to replace Wang after 2 2/3 innings of work and 43 pitches (29 strikes). Wang had been pitching very well, working through the Yankees major league portion of their lineup dominantly in the first inning. He allowed two singles but none of the Yankees seemed to square up anything.

The Nationals will of course hope for the best with Wang but if he is significantly hurt, the Nationals will be thankful they have not yet traded away John Lannan. The two have been in competition this spring for the team’s No. 5 starter spot with Wang looking to have the inside track on the job. The Nationals signed Wang to one-year, $4 million, incentive-laden deal this past November after he looked strong down the stretch last season. 

Lannan was scheduled to pitch after Wang on Thursday but because of the emergency nature in which Wang was pulled, Durbin came in first.