The New York Times' Tyler Kepner reports that Chien-Ming Wang felt "tenderness" in his ailing shoulder while throwing before the Yankees' batting practice today, and that he will be shut down until Friday, at least:
"It’s not exactly the news that I wanted," [manager Joe] Girardi said. "We were hoping two weeks’ rest would be enough for him to get on a throwing program. Does it mean he won’t pitch this year? No, I’m not saying that. But obviously, it’s not going to be as soon as we thought."
That doesn't exactly sound like a vote of confidence in Wang's ability to pitch later in 2009. Wang said last Friday that he was pain free, but evidently he isn't, and his return will have to be delayed even further. In his absence, Sergio Mitre becomes a regular member of the rotation, and if another pitcher is needed, the Yankees would likely tap Alfredo Aceves rather than Phil Hughes, because it would take longer for Hughes to make the transition from relieving to starting. Aceves has been very effective as a reliever for the Yanks, but Girardi says the return of the rehabbing Damaso Marte could potentially ease the sting.
Fussing too much over Sergio Mitre and the 2009 version of Chien Ming Wang, though, ignores the broader issue, which is that the Yankees could use some help in their rotation. Mitre has pitched well at Class AAA Scranton, but the Yankees are showing a lot of faith in a guy who hasn't pitched in the big leagues since 2007 and has a 5.36 career ERA. The Yankees might consider getting Hughes or Aceves ready to take a spot in the rotation, even if that means sacrificing tactical advantages in the bullpen for a week or two.