Chien-Ming Wang goes three innings at extended spring training

In his first game action since suffering a left hamstring injury March 15, Chien-Ming Wang threw three innings today at extended spring training.

Facing the Tigers’ extended spring training club, Wang allowed one run and five hits with no walks and three strikeouts over his three frames of work.

He threw 51 pitches, 37 for strikes.

This is the latest step in Wang’s recovery from the hamstring injury which set him back in his quest to make the Nationals’ starting rotation. The 32-year-old threw to hitters last Wednesday, but this was his first time appearing in a live game.

Wang appears poised to go on a rehab assignment, and if all goes well, the Nationals expect him to be able to return to the majors in a matter of weeks. Once a pitcher begins his rehab assignment, he is allowed 30 days to rejoin the major league club, but manager Davey Johnson said last week he doesn’t expect Wang to need the full 30 days.

The question is where Wang would fit into the Nationals’ pitching staff when he returns.

Ross Detwiler, who currently occupies the No. 5 spot in Washington’s rotation, has a 0.56 ERA over his 16 innings pitched this season, which ranks second in the majors.

Asked Friday how the Nationals plan to fit Wang into their stable of arms when he returns if Detwiler is still pitching so well, Johnson smiled.

“I don’t want to think about it,” he said.

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