Yankees 8, Nationals 5

Chien-Ming Wang took a tumble in his pursuit of a starting job

with the Washington Nationals.

Wang, the favorite to become the Nationals’ fifth starter, left

in the third inning of Washington’s 8-5 loss to the New York

Yankees on Thursday with a strained left hamstring.

Fielding Russell Martin’s grounder near first base, Wang

stumbled then fell. As he was falling over first base, his leg went

up in the air and was brushed by Martin as he ran through the


”I fell on my left shoulder. I’m fine,” Martin said of the

play. ”I asked him if he was OK and he shook his head.”

Nationals manager Davey Johnson said Wang would undergo more

tests to determine the severity of the injury. Johnson was told by

team trainers it appeared Wang was hurt as he bent down to pick up

the ball.

Washington first baseman Chad Tracy said Wang had a choice of

either trying to field the ball or letting it go by and hoping

Tracy could toss it to him at first in time.

”That’s probably one of the tougher plays that there is,”

Tracy said. ”It’s tough to judge off the bat. We’re taught in

spring training if the pitcher can get that ball, then get it and

keep going. He did the right thing, just something happened to

throw him off balance.”

Wang had been off to a strong start, allowing two hits and

striking out four through 2 2-3 innings. It was his first start

against New York, where he spent five seasons and twice won 19

games for the Yankees before being slowed by a foot injury in 2008.

In 2009, he had shoulder surgery and has spent the better part of

three years trying to regain his form.

”Anytime you see one of your teammates have an injury, you feel

bad for him, especially (Wang),” Tracy said. ”He’s been battling

for a few years to get back. He’s a great guy. Hopefully, he’s all

right. Hopefully, he doesn’t miss a lot of time.”

Michael Pineda, meanwhile, gave up two runs and four hits in 3

2-3 innings for New York. He retired the first seven batters.

Catcher Jhonatan Solano had an RBI double in the third and

designated hitter Adam LaRoche added a run-scoring double in the


Pineda threw 65 pitches, 41 for strikes.

He was particularly excited about the development of his

changeup, a pitch the Yankees have said he needed to compliment his

fastball and slider.

The right-hander, acquired in a trade that sent top prospect

Jesus Montero to Seattle, should be the Yankees No. 3 or 4 starter

this season. But nothing is a lock. He came into camp overweight

and the overpowering fastball that helped make him an All-Star as a

rookie last year has yet to reach the mid-90s, which is what he was

throwing last year with the Mariners.

”Last year, I didn’t throw a lot of changeups,” he said.

”This year, I focus a little more on my changeup, make it a good

pitch all the time. I’m not worried (about) my fastball. I don’t

know how my fastball is right now, but it feels good.”

Yankees shortstop Ramiro Pena sustained a sprained right ankle

while trying to steal second in the fourth inning.

Third baseman Bill Hall had two hits and two RBIs for the

Yankees, who scored six runs – four earned – off John Lannan, who

is also a candidate for the Nationals’ fifth starter spot.

First baseman Jose Gil also had two RBIs for New York. Tracy and

shortstop Steve Lombardozzi each had two hits for Washington.

NOTES: Nationals left fielder Michael Morse didn’t take part in

any team activities Thursday as he recovers from a strained lat

muscle. Johnson said one again that he’s not concerned about

Morse’s injury . LaRoche was Washington’s designated hitter

Thursday, while Chad Tracy played first base. Johnson joked that

the idea came from LaRoche’s son. ”Drake said he needed to DH, and

not play (in the field),” Johnson said. When asked, ”Are you

taking orders from a 9-year-old?” Johnson cracked, ”Yeah, and so

does his dad.” Johnson said he wanted to get LaRoche some at-bats

and wanted to see more of Tracy, who is competing for the team’s

final bench spot. . Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos is scheduled to

be the designated hitter Friday in Tampa against the Yankees. Ramos

has missed the past two games with a heel injury sustained Tuesday

night against Detroit . The Nationals trimmed their spring training

roster to 41 following Thursday’s game by optioning right-handed

pitcher Yunesky Maya to Triple-A Syracuse and outfielder Eury Perez

to Double-A Harrisburg. The team also assigned right-handed

pitchers Jeff Fulchino and Waldis Joaquin to minor league camp .

Yankees right-hander Freddy Garcia will likely miss his next start

after getting hit on his right hand during Wednesday’s game against

Toronto. ”The swelling went down, but there’s still swelling in

there,” Girardi said. ”(His next start) would be Tuesday, but I

still don’t know if he’ll make it. I guess we’ll know a lot more in

the next 48 hours.” . Girardi said he talked to Nick Swisher

Wednesday night, after the outfielder had left Wednesday’s game

with tightness in his groin. Though he didn’t know the severity of

the injury, Girardi said the sense he got from Swisher was that if

it had been the middle of the season, Swisher would be able to play

. Reliever David Robertson, recovering from a bone bruise in his

right foot, was scheduled to play catch in Tampa on Thursday .

Yankees utility man Eduardo Nunez, who has been dealing with a

bruised right han d, is not expected to pick up a bat until

Saturday. Nunez was scratched from the lineup prior to Tuesday’s

game against Boston.