The last pitch that Chien-Ming Wang threw (video here) for the 2009 season was on July 4, and it made Jorge Posada immediately jump up and rush to the mound.
Posada must have heard something that spooked him because he frantically waived Yankee Manager Joe Girardi to the mound with Yankee Trainer Gene Monahan quickly in tow.
The amazing thing is that Wang remained expressionless through the obvious terrific pain. He is one cool-hand.
On the same day as the pitch that popped his shoulder, Wang said, "I am afraid that if it takes surgery to repair, that would be the worst case. And I hope that wouldn't be the case."
Welcome to the Worst Case.
After tonight's loss to Tampa Bay (6-2), the Yankees announced on WCBS that Wang, after having seen Dr. Andrews, is done for the year with a tear in his right "capsule" (or fibrotic cover to the shoulder joint).
Of Wang, Yankee Skipper Girardi said, "It's a tough loss for us. And I feel for him, because he's been through a lot in the last 14 or 15 months, with the foot injury and now this—hopefully this will be the end of the surgeries for him and he will have the rest of his career to be healthy."
Earlier reports speculated that Wang may have torn a scar in his right shoulder. It's still unclear whether this injury is the result of the scar or a new tear.
What is clear is—Wang has had health issues this year.
An early-season hip injury put him out of the Yankee pitching rotation for months and may have caused him to overthrow the ball to generate more power, leading to the now shoulder tear.
Certainly his adding the slider back into the mix didn’t help things either, as he had suffered a shoulder injury in 2005.
The result of the '05 injury led to the Yankees telling Wang “NOT TO THROW anymore sliders." (note to Joba Chamberlain )
Instead, they taught him his highly touted sinker-ball.
In Sports Illustrated article dated April 2008, Wang said, "If I want to be a Tier One pitcher, then I'll have to add my slider back."
He added it back before last year's season; but suffered a fluke foot injury icing his season. And he hasn’t been the same since re-adding the slider.
Perhaps the Yankees will re-visit the slider issue with him again.
The injury is similar to A-Rod’s hip injury, with the exception that A-Rod had a bone spur causing a cyst to develop on his labrum (or fibrotic cover the hip joint).
Wang’s injury will leave the Yankees crying for more depth.
All things considered, if the Yankees do not pull the trigger now on a Roy Halladay deal, then they ought to consider Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez.
He is a 2.45 ERA with Texas this year and hyped an opponent batting average of .121; striking out 12 batters in 11 innings of work in eight appearances.
"El Duque” sat out in 2008 with an injury and last pitched in the Majors in 2007, when he went 9-5 with a 3.72 ERA in 27 games (24 starts) for the Mets.
He's healthy and wouldn't cost the Yankees any prospects at all.