Chien-Ming Wang unlikely to be ready for Opening Day

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The good news for Chien-Ming Wang is that what initially looked like a serious leg injury suffered during yesterday’s game turned out to be merely a strained hamstring.

The bad news is that manager Davey Johnson said today that he expects Wang to be out of action for “a couple weeks minimum.”

That will make it all but impossible for Wang to begin the season in the Nationals’ rotation, as he won’t have built up the necessary arm strength and pitch count even if he somehow returns to the mound sooner than expected.

By resisting the urge to trade John Lannan the Nationals have a capable fill-in waiting to replace Wang, but he was finally starting to look somewhat like his old self three years after shoulder surgery.

Cubs place Ben Zobrist on 10-day disabled list with back soreness

Ben Zobrist
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Cubs infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with back soreness. The move is retroactive to April 14. While it doesn’t appear to be the precursor to any serious injury, Zobrist has already missed six straight days of activity after feeling his back tighten up last weekend. Should he see the minimum time on the DL, as expected, he’ll be eligible to return by the start of the Cubs’ series against the Indians on Tuesday.

Prior to his injury, the 36-year-old outfielder raked an impressive .326/.408/.465 with three extra-base hits in 49 plate appearances. He last appeared for the Cubs during their homestand last weekend and helped propel the team to a 14-10 win over the Braves with three hits, two walks and two RBI. Provided that he can remain healthy going forward, it’s a promising start for the veteran outfielder, who has yet to return to the All-Star-worthy numbers he posted with the club in 2016.

With Zobrist sidelined for the time being, Ian Happ and Albert Almora Jr. have shared the leadoff spot and center field duties over the last week. Happ went 0-for-8 with six strikeouts in two games before passing the baton to Almora, who collected five hits and two RBI in 11 at-bats.