Last night the Yankees released the news that Chien-Ming Wang will undergo season ending surgery. The surgery will be preformed today to repair a “capsule tear” in his right shoulder. The surgery will be preformed by Dr. James Andrews who also preformed shoulder surgery on Wang back in 2001. It’s never good for a pitcher to need shoulder surgery, especially for the 2nd time.
It has been a really tough 13 or so months for Wang, who suffered a sprained lisfranc ligament in his right foot in June of last year, and it all went downhill from there. Wang ended up resting for the rest of 2008, with the expectation that he would be fully ready for the 2009 season. He came into spring training of 2009, had nothing reportedly wrong with his foot or anything else, and began the season as the Yankees number 2 starter.
But, from his first start of the year, Wang did not look right. After seeing a string of horrendous starts, the Yankees placed Wang on the 15 day DL with weakness of his hips (we will never know for sure whether he really had weakness in his hips, or if the Yankees just wanted to get him straightened out in rehab). Anyway, Wang was rehabbing down in Tampa, and then Joba Chamberlain had to leave a start early after being hit in the knee by a come backer, and the Yankees panicked and recalled Chien-Ming Wang. Joba turned out to be fine, and since there was no room in the rotation for Wang, he sat to rot in the bullpen. Eventually, Wang was re-inserted into the rotation, as Phil Hughes was placed in the bullpen. Wang, who was then in the rotation, looked better than early 2009 Wang, but still was not vintage Chien-Ming Wang. And we know the story of how he was removed from a game earlier this month with discomfort in his shoulder. The Yankees first plan was to have him rehab, and possibly come back mid August, but we know that didn’t happen.
At the moment, the Yankees are not sure how much time Wang will miss (or they will not say), but it looks very possible that he could miss a large chunk of the 2010 season to go along with the remainder of the 2009 season. Chien-Ming Wang is up for arbitration at the end of this season, will the Yankees offer him arbitration? Is there a chance they non-tender him, and hope to sign him to a minor league contract? Who knows?