Saturday, April 25, 2009

Injury Bug Bites Again

A glut of injuries hit the Yankees last night. Some-such as Wang-were expected, others, such as Bruney were blindsides, though results of Bruney's MRI have not yet been announced (probably because it's not even 11 AM and he probably hasn't had it yet) and he might be okay.

The thing to focus here is on Wang.

Through the first couple of weeks there have been numerous suggestions as to why he was having so much trouble; now the obvious answer seems to be that he never completely recovered from his lis franc injury last year.

Last year, when Wang went down, someone I was talking to mentioned that the injury could be career-altering because it was Wang's push off foot. I ignored him, mostly because he always seemed to see the pessimistic side of things, but now I can see that he may be right.

For a pitcher to be effective, every little thing has to be just right. We saw it a bit with Joba last night-his velocity was down and his command way off. Whether it's early season rust or something more sinister, only time will tell.

If Wang did, in fact, alter his delivery because he wasn't putting the same pressure on his foot or using his foot in a different way, even if only slightly, that is already a big problem.

It becomes further compounded when one takes into consideration that Wang seems to have lost all confidence on the mound.

One can fix a mechanical flaw. A confidence flaw can be a career-ender if one can't find a way around it.

It's hard to say that Wang was rushed too soon. He was hurt in June and didn't pitch in a game again until March. If anything-and understand, I'm not a doctor and may be totally off the mark here-I would argue that the offseason probably did more to hurt Wang than to help him.

What strikes me is how Bruney was able to come back in-season, ostensibly with the same injury, and remain just as effective. Maybe it's as simple as Bruney didn't injure his push off foot-I'm not sure.

At any rate, the important thing here is that the Yankees are down a starter.

While Phil Hughes is the most likely candidate to replace him, and perhaps inspires more confidence than Sidney Ponson or Darrell Rasner, it seems like every time the Yankees are serious about keeping him in AAA the plan is thwarted. There really isn't a better option, however-Ian Kennedy and Kei Igawa would have to be considered next on the list.

There's more depth than there was last year, for sure, but depth is always at its best when you don't need it.