The Washington Nationals currently have six starting pitchers and five rotation spots—a problem that just about every manager would love to have.
The race for the final spot seemed to be down to Chien-Ming Wang and John Lannan, with Lannan a trade possibility because of his higher value.
After Thursday's game against the Yankees, though, Lannan may no longer be available.
With one out in the third inning, Wang collapsed to the ground after his knee buckled trying to beat Russell Martin to first, after he hit a soft tapper back to the mound.
Wang was able to stand back up—with the help of the head trainer and manager Davey Johnson—before limping back into the Nationals' clubhouse.
Prior to the injury, Wang looked solid. In 2 2/3 innings, he allowed no runs and struck out three. Only two balls left the infield against Wang, and his average velocity sat between 90 and 93 miles per hour.
The Nationals reported soon after he left that he suffered a left hamstring strain, and that there is no timetable for his return.
If Wang is to miss any significant amount of time, it would not be wise for the Nationals to trade away Lannan.
He could be a more than capable replacement, and he may be able to provide more innings than Wang would have been able to.
It's unlikely that Wang will miss months of action, so allowing Lannan to further establish his value could be a plus for the team. If he has a sub-4.00 ERA at the deadline, the Nationals may be able to get several teams involved for the left hander.
The Nationals will definitely look to make a nice return on Lannan, a pitcher who is capable of providing 200+ innings of sub-4.00 baseball—but they should not trade away the lefty just yet.
Given this injury to Wang (and the slew of other injuries he's been a victim of during his career), keeping Lannan on the team would be a great insurance policy.
Either way, the Nationals and their fans have no reason to worry about starting pitching in 2012.
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