Wang passes another test for Yankees

March 7, 2009 6:16:54 PM PST
Chien-Ming Wang passed another test, and it had nothing to do with his pitching arm. Wang allowed one run and three hits over three innings in the New York Yankees' 3-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Saturday.

The right-hander missed the final 3½ months of last season because of a right foot injury that occurred while he was running the bases during an interleague game against Houston on June 15.

"No problem," Wang said. "It's behind me completely. Feels good."

Atlanta leadoff hitter Josh Anderson started Saturday's game by pulling a bunt between the mound and the first-base line. Wang quickly moved off the mound, tracked down the ball and made a flip to first baseman Mark Teixeira for the out.

"That's a great athletic play," Teixeira said. "There's not many pitchers that can make that play."

Yankees manager Joe Girardi admits there is still some concern when Wang runs off the mound to make a play.

"Yes, because the way I saw it happen last year was kind of freaky," Girardi said. "I still worry about it, but what I do see is him pushing off that foot. To me it looks strong."

Wang, who won 19 games in both 2006 and '07, was 8-2 when he went on the disabled list two days after his injury last season. He struck out two during his second spring training start.

Braves starter Jair Jurrjens gave up one run and four hits in 3 2-3 innings. He had three strikeouts.

"I love J.J. As soon as I saw him last year when we traded for him, I was very impressed," said Teixeira, who played with Atlanta last season. "He's a great kid. Has a great work ethic. Got good stuff. At a young age is already a pitcher."

Jurrjens finished third in NL Rookie of the Year voting last season. He led the Braves with 13 wins and 139 strikeouts.

Casey Kotchman, Greg Norton and Brandon Jones hit solo homers for the Braves.

Kotchman put Atlanta up 1-0 on his first-inning shot off Wang.

Teixeira took away a two-out RBI single in the third from Kotchman with a nifty, backhanded grab on a hard-hit grounder.

After Justin Leone pulled the Yankees even at 1 on an RBI single in the fourth, Norton made it 2-1 with a long homer during the sixth.

Jones homered in the seventh.

Teixeira said it was a little weird playing against the Braves for the first time since signing with the Yankees.

"Brought back some memories," he said. "I had a great year with the Braves. It was a lot of fun."

Teixeira was traded from Atlanta to the Los Angeles Angels last July 29. The Braves received two players in the deal, including Kotchman.


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