Wang's Injury Has Many Fans Ready to Panic

Mike DuffyContributor IJune 16, 2008

After what turned out to be a meaningless run, Yankees ace Chien-Ming Wang may be lost for rest of season.

Wang injured his right foot rounding third in the 6th inning on Sunday’s 13-0 blowout victory over the Houston Astros. Wang hobbled off the field under Joe Girardi and Steve Donahue’s shoulders. Seeing Wang come up lame caused every Yankee fan’s heart to sink, as the already shaky season is even more in jeopardy.

With a mid foot sprain and partial tear of his Lisfranc ligament, Wang will be in a protective boot for the next six weeks. After that he faces plenty of rehab time as he must regain his arm strength and condition his push off foot. This deals a major blow to an already thinned out pitching staff.

With the league’s most winning pitcher since 2006 out, where should the Yanks turn for a savior? There are plenty of arms in the minors, but whom and how many can face the numerous pressures of pitching in The Bronx?

Dan Giese first comes to mind, as he has already proven himself at this level. The 31 year old has shined since being called up, getting his first Major League win several days ago. He has been in a long relief role along with Ross Ohlendorf who is a jack of all trades out of the pen.

 Jeff Karstens is next on the list, as he saw plenty of action over the past two seasons, getting a few starts here and there. Shaky but otherwise reliable, he can at least soak up innings to save a bullpen that has seen its fair share of struggles.

Now brings up two of the in house question marks: Kei Igawa and Chase Wright.  Igawa, after signing a big free agent contract to import him from Japan, has been nothing short of a disappointment. He has the stamina to be a starter so hopefully he could fill the void up until the trade deadline.

Chase Wright has been in Double A Trenton most of the season after starting his first career big league game last season, earning the victory in the process. After that game he did not pitch as well and got sent back down to Triple A. He is another option, a risky one but an option none the less.

Now comes the obvious, and what has become somewhat of a Yankees tradition over recent years, and that is the trade market.

Pitchers already rumored to be available when the trade deadline rolls around are reigning A.L. Cy Young Award Winner C.C. Sabathia, his teammate Paul Byrd, Toronto Blue Jay A.J. Burnett, and former Phillies’ ace and current Padre Randy Wolf.

The oft injured Burnett has already expressed his interest in leaving Toronto, saying to reporters questioning reports that the Chicago Cubs expressed interest in him,

 “I wouldn’t mind pitching for the Cubs. Who wouldn’t?” 

Burnett is having a horrible season, and has never been healthy enough to post good numbers on a steady and reliable basis.

Sabathia is the best choice of those mentioned hurlers. He has pitched in the playoffs and has proven himself in crucial games and situations. Did I mention he’s the reigning Cy Young Award winner? He has a powerful arm, with a fastball that reaches the upper 90’s. Good breaking stuff, curve-balls and sliders that fool the league’s best hitters, and masterful control that led him to a K/BB ratio over 5.65 over his career.

Byrd and Wolf are similar pitchers, both with similar styles to Mike Mussina. Both have evolved into finesse pitchers over the course of their careers.

Byrd is the American League equivalent of Jamie Moyer, since he recently departed the American League to join the Phillies. But Byrd, 37, has seen his fair share of controversy, being named in the Mitchell Report and accused of taking HGH by the San Francisco Chronicle. With Andy Pettitte bringing plenty of distraction at the start of the season, adding Byrd might be too big a risk.

The 31 year old Wolf has posted decent numbers so far, a 5-4 record with a 3.83 ERA and 75 strikeouts. Tha Yankees will get a good look at Wolf as he starts against them Tuesday night.

With Wang likely out till September, the Yankees will have to make some sort of move to fill the void left by his absence.  Which move is the right one and which they make is arguable.