Chien-Ming Wang has set a dubious record; no other Yankees’ pitcher has ever allowed so many earned runs in his first three starts of the season. The numbers are hideous: three starts, six innings of pitching, 23 hits and 23 earned runs allowed. Best of all, Wang’s next start is scheduled for Friday at Fenway Park.
What can the Yankees do about Wang? The first and most obvious move is to scratch him from his next start. Thanks to Thursday’s day off the Yankees can move A.J. Burnett to Friday and skip Wang’s turn in the rotation, allowing him to avoid Fenway, a park where he has a 5.11 ERA in seven starts. But, that is really only the first step.
Unfortunately, the Yankees cannot send Wang to the minors without exposing him to waivers. Despite his eye-popping 34.50 ERA, it is almost a certainty that some team would claim Wang. After all, he is still only 29 and has a career record of 54-23. So, the Yankees will have to try and fix him a different way and that is where they need to get creative—they need to find a reason to DL him.
If Wang was hurt the Yankees could then send him to a minor league team for up to 30 days of “rehabilitation,” basically allowing him to make five starts in the minors. The Yankees seem to be reluctant to try this approach and insist that Wang is healthy, but is he really? Last season he was 8-2 before being injured running the bases in Houston, now he has come back to majors and can’t seem to get an out. It seems possible that his ineffectiveness is due to injury.
Whatever the reason, the Yankees cannot afford to keep sending him to the mound everyday. He can’t pitch competitively at this level right now and the Yankees can’t afford to keep getting killed on the days he pitches.