P Wang confused after rocky starts

Updated: April 19, 2009, 4:46 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Chien-Ming Wang's struggles are a mystery to him. New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi, however, sees things differently, and is undecided about right-hander's next start.

Chien-Ming Wang

Wang

Wang lasted just 1 1/3 innings in a 22-4 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Saturday, allowing eight runs and eight hits. He is 0-3 with a 34.50 ERA in six innings over three starts this season.

The soft-spoken 29-year-old from Taiwan said he has compared video of his performances from this season to last year, when was 8-2 with a 4.07 ERA in 15 starts before injuring his right foot June 15, and doesn't see a difference.

"Everything is the same as last season," Wang said. "Nothing's wrong. Just keep working."

But Girardi also watched video with his staff and thinks there are several things Wang can work on.

"We looked at his hands, height of his leg kick, where his head is -- if it's out of line -- the angle of his arm. We looked at everything." Girardi said. "We had some healthy stuff that we saw. We understand that we need to make some adjustments."

Wang is 54-20 in his four-year career with two 19-win seasons, and his awful start has confounded the team.

The Yankees have been working with Wang on bringing his sinkerball down in the strike zone ever since he lasted a season-high 3 2/3 innings in his first start against Baltimore on April 8. He gave up seven runs in that start and eight in each of his next two outings.

Girardi said Wang's sinker was moving better against the Indians than it had in his first two starts, but batters were fouling those pitches off.

Girardi believes Wang, who was 5-0 in April last year, deserves more leeway than an inexperienced pitcher, but he said the Yankees will have to make a decision about what to do with him soon. He said he hasn't spoken with Wang about it yet.

"It's just difficult to go through, and you got to fight your way out," Girardi said. "We really feel he is capable of doing that. We've got to help him."

Wang's next turn in the rotation is scheduled for Boston on Friday, and his preference is to make the start and work on his motion during regular side sessions.

"I can pitch in that game. I want to pitch," Wang said.

Anthony Claggett, who relieved Wang during Cleveland's 14-run second inning Saturday, was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre when the Yankees recalled right-hander Steven Jackson before Sunday's game against the Indians.

Claggett was called up Saturday and gave up eight runs and nine hits over 1 2/3 innings in his major league debut.

Jackson had a 2.08 ERA for New York in 10 spring appearances.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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