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Posted at 12:39 PM ET, 03/15/2012

Nationals-Yankees updates and discussion thread: Chien-Ming Wang faces his old team


(Julio Cortez - AP)

3:31, MID 7: John Lannan allowed five consecutive singles to start the seventh, which led eventually to five runs. One of those hits was a bunt, and none were hit especially hard, though there were a couple lines. It’s 6-3, Yankees.

2:58, MID 6: Six up, six down for John Lannnan. He used a 5-4-3 doubple play to get out of the fifth, and he struck out Wise looking at a sinker to end the sixth. 2-2, tied.

2:36, TOP 5: The Nationals tied the score at two when Adam LaRoche drilled an RBI double to the right-center gap. Chad Tracy, who singled to continue his push for the last bench, scored. Bryce Harper faced an interesting test: side-winding southpaw Clay Rapada, who’s hell on lefties. The Nationals want Harper to improve against soft-tossing lefties, but Rapada struck him out four pitches to end the inning, freezing him with a breaking ball on the outside corner.

John Lannan is now in the game, and he struck out Brett Gardner looking. The latest update on Wang is right here.

1:52, TOP 3: After a strong first 2 2/3 innings, Chien-Ming Wang left the game an apparent injury to his knee. Wang ran to field a dribbler on the right side of the infield. After he picked the ball up, he took a false step once he realized first baseman Chad Tracy had gone for the ball, too, and would not be covering first base. As Wang stepped toward the ball, his knee buckled. He stumbled awkwardly and fell to the ground. Athletic trainer Lee Kuntz came out to tend to him, and he quickly walked into the dugout. We will keep you posted.

1:38, END: Pineda has retired all six Nats he’s faced. In happier news, one scout’s gun has Wang at 90-93 miles per hour so far. That’s a very, very good sign. Last year he averaged 90.6, per FanGraphs.com.

1:32, MID 2: Wang loaded the bases in the second inning on singles by Bill Hall and Dewayne Wise and plunking Jorge Vazquez. But he struck out Ramiro Pena with a fastball high and outside. Still scoreless.

1:18, BOT 1: A tremendous first inning for Chien-Ming Wang. He struck out Brett Gardner looking at a backdoor slider. Before the game today, Tyler Clippard, a teammate of Wang’s at his peak with the Yankees, said his breaking now is better than it was then. Russell Martin grounded to second, and then Andruw Jones whiffed at a sinker for strike three. Michael Pineda, meanwhile, has struck out both hitters he faced, Bernadina and Espinosa.

PREGAME: The Nationals will face the Yankees, a team with which they share a few connections. Several Nationals players greeted former Washington outfielder Justin Maxwell, not a Class AAA slugger for the Yankees. Tyler Clippard chatted with New York outfielder Brett Gardner, his old roommate when he played in the Yankees’ minor league system.

The clearest connection, though, is Chien-Ming Wang facing the team he became a star with for the first time. “We always pulled for him, because he’s such a good guy,” Yankees Manager Joe Girardi said. “I think all of us have kind of kept check on how he’s doing.”

Nationals Manager Davey Johnson knew Wang would be excited to face his old team, and he worried that Wang may carry too much emotion into a spring training start. “I hope he’s veteran enough to know its early April,” Johnson said.” I hope he doesn’t come out over-throwing as some of my other younger guys have done.” Johnson will limit Wang to about 60 pitches.

Today’s game can be heard on 106.7 and seen live on MASN. I’ll have a few updates here throughout the afternoon.

By  |  12:39 PM ET, 03/15/2012

 
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