Wang's return uncertain

Updated: July 24, 2009, 1:01 AM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Chien-Ming Wang sought a second opinion on his injured pitching shoulder, and it's uncertain when the New York Yankees right-hander might return to the mound.


Wang went on the 15-day disabled list July 5 with a strained right shoulder, then played catch on Monday.

"I feel the same in the front of my shoulder," he said Thursday.

General manager Brian Cashman said Wang was examined Wednesday by New York Mets medical director Dr. David Altchek, and the Yankees were awaiting results. Next, they will confer with renowned orthopedist Dr. James Andrews in Alabama.

When the analysis is complete, the Yankees said, they will discuss Wang's status. As of now, there are no plans for the pitcher to see Andrews, the team said.

"Second opinions are almost routine here," the GM said.

A 19-game winner in 2006 and 2007, Wang missed the final 3 months last season after injuring his right foot while running the bases in Houston.

This season has been wrecked by injuries and ineffectiveness. Wang is 1-6 with a 9.64 ERA in 12 games, including nine starts. The sinkerballer was sidelined from April 19 to May 21 with adductor muscle weakness in his hips.

New York called up Sergio Mitre from the minors to take Wang's spot in the rotation and he beat Baltimore 6-4 on Tuesday night for his first major league win since July 29, 2007, for Florida.

With Wang sidelined and former starters Phil Hughes and Alfredo Aceves now in the bullpen, the Yankees would like to have more starting pitching depth in case of another injury.

"We know that we're a little thin," manager Joe Girardi said.

In other news, Cashman and Girardi said the Yankees still plan to keep 23-year-old starter Joba Chamberlain on an innings limit this season, though they didn't divulge details.

Cashman said Chamberlain would not be shut down before the end of the regular season, and Girardi said it's possible the right-hander could shift back to the bullpen at some point this year to prevent him from surpassing his innings limit.

"Nothing's changed," Cashman said. "It's not a new plan."

And it's not an issue that will become pressing in the next couple of weeks, Cashman said.

Chamberlain, mostly a starter in college and the minors, emerged as a dominant setup reliever when he reached the majors late in 2007. He was moved to the rotation in the middle of last season and there's been much debate in New York about where he belongs.

"There's a lot of different things that we could do," Girardi said. "As time goes on we're going to evaluate him. There's nothing that's completely in stone."

Scheduled to start Friday night against Oakland, Chamberlain is 5-2 with a 4.05 ERA in 18 starts covering 95 2-3 innings.


Left-handed reliever Damaso Marte, on the disabled list since April 26 with inflammation in his left shoulder, is on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Cashman said Marte's arm strength is good, but he needs more time. "We just don't think he's quite ready," Girardi said.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press