While Chien-Ming Wang is on the disabled list with a hip injury, the Yankees and their erstwhile sinker-ball specialist are blaming Wang’s foot injury for his early-season woes. Yesterday, Wang threw 52 pitches — 33 for strikes — over four scoreless innings. He reached 93 on the gun, according to reports, and seemed sharp.
After the game, Wang and Billy Connors talked with reporters about his injury. The two blamed “stiffness” in Wang’s right foot for his mechanical problems.
To me, that explanation makes perfect sense. Wang has to generate a lot of power through his legs by anchoring himself with his right foot and then driving forward on it as well. By laying off his leg, Wang had been rushing his delivery and putting more pressure on his torso and hips.
For now, Wang has been undergoing an intensive training regime for his foot. He’s running barefoot and doing a lot of pool work to strengthen his legs and core. He’s also working on his confidence after his three disastrous starts in April. “You have to work the head, too,” Connors said to reporters.
Right now, I wouldn’t expect Wang back any time soon. The Yankees are comfortable using Phil Hughes in the rotation. He will be pitching the game tomorrow night against the Red Sox, weather permitting, and the Yankees would prefer to have Wang healthy and effective. I still don’t know though why the Yankees didn’t notice this problem in Spring Training. Wang had an ERA just a shade over 4.10 in the Grapefruit League and seemed on track. Maybe the residual soreness caught up with him, but no matter the cause, he’s working his way back slowly.