File photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Chien-Ming Wang was enjoying a strong start before suffering his injury.
The Nationals announced Wang's injury as a left hamstring strain but did not immediately say how much time, if any, the veteran pitcher might miss.
Wang hurt himself after fielding a slow roller to the right of the mound off Martin's bat. With first baseman Chad Tracy also attempting to make the play, Wang was forced to run himself to the bag and try to beat Martin there. But the pitcher tripped as he approached the base and suffered a nasty spill (though he did manage to touch the bag with his hand and retire Martin).
Though he did appear to be smiling as he sat on the ground, Wang left the field limping with the assistance of a trainer.
The injury brought an abrupt end to what was shaping up to be a fine outing by the Taiwanese hurler. Wang blew through the top of the Yankees' lineup in the first inning, striking out both Brett Gardner and Andruw Jones. He did load the bases in the second but struck out Ramiro Pena to kill the potential rally, then struck out Gardner leading off the third before the Martin play ended his afternoon.
Wang (who missed all of 2010 and most of 2011 recovering from major shoulder surgery) had positioned himself to win the final spot in the Opening Day rotation, and he may still hold that designation if the injury is not serious. But if the veteran is forced to open the season on the disabled list, the Nationals already have an experienced starter in John Lannan ready to take that spot.
Lannan, who led the club with 10 wins and 33 starts last season while posting a career-best 3.70 ERA, seemed like the odd-man out in the Nationals' suddenly overloaded rotation. That reality prompted several general managers from other clubs to call Nationals GM Mike Rizzo and see if Lannan would be available in a trade.
Rizzo, though, insisted all along he was not seeking to deal Lannan and wanted to keep the left-hander as long as possible in the event of injury or other issue.