Chien-Ming Wang makes first professional start since July of 2009

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Davey Johnson is understandably grabbing most of the headlines at the moment, but another item of significance to the Nationals went down in Hagerstown, Maryland earlier this evening.

Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington reports that Chien-Ming Wang allowed two runs on four hits over three innings in his first minor league rehab start with Class A Hagerstown. On the long road back from shoulder surgery, this was his first professional appearance of any kind since July 4, 2009 as a member of the Yankees.

Wang threw 49 pitches while striking out three, walking none and and hitting a batter. Those numbers don’t tell us much, but one encouraging tidbit is that six of his nine outs were recorded via the groundball.

Amanda Comak of the Washington Times reports that the 31-year-old right-hander topped out at 90 mph during tonight’s outing, but mostly sat in the 86-88 mph range. Wang averaged just over 93 mph on his fastball back in 2006, but was at 91.8 mph with his heater in 2008 and 2009.

The Nationals have been extra patient with Wang over the past 17 months, so don’t look for that to change now. He’s going to need to make it through several rehab outings in one piece before having a realistic shot at pitching in the major leagues again.

Nick Burdi has strained biceps tendon and flexor mass

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Last night, Pirates pitcher Nick Burdi crumpled to the ground, grabbing his right arm after throwing a fastball to Diamondbacks outfielder Jarrod Dyson. The injury looked terrible. So bad, in fact, that Burdi was in tears on the mound as trainers tended to him.

Thankfully, the diagnosis for Burdi is good, all things considered. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, Burdi has been diagnosed with a strained biceps tendon and flexor mass. He will be sidelined indefinitely, but he appears to need only rehabilitation as opposed to surgery. Burdi will have a second opinion to ensure the correct diagnosis.

Burdi underwent Tommy John surgery in 2017, which kept him out of action for about 14 months. The former Twins top prospect currently holds a 9.35 ERA with a 17/3 K/BB ratio in 8 2/3 innings for the Pirates this season.