Wang may meet with Andrews on Monday
Team is no longer counting on right-hander to return in '09
NEW YORK -- The medical files relating to Chien-Ming Wang's injured right shoulder were reviewed on Thursday by Dr. James Andrews, and the noted sports orthopedist apparently saw enough of a problem that an in-person visit may become necessary.
Wang could meet with Andrews on Monday amid concern that his season could be over. The right-hander has been on the disabled list since July 5, and manager Joe Girardi said that the team is no longer counting on his return this year.
"He's down, I'm sure," Girardi said. "What he's been through the last 13 or 14 months has not been easy to go through. All players want to be on the field. When I look at him, he has a smile on his face, but I'm sure inside that this has not been enjoyable for him."
Wang's visit with Andrews would take place one week to the afternoon since he played catch on the field at Yankee Stadium, his first on-field activity since being placed on the DL for the second time this season.
The club was optimistic that the informal exercise would be Wang's first step toward potentially rejoining the rotation for the stretch drive, but he had to cut the session short after feeling tenderness in his right biceps. He later visited with both Dr. David Altchek and Yankees team physician Dr. Chris Ahmad to discuss the problem.
"Obviously, I want to be helping on the field with my teammates," Wang said through an interpreter. "Right now, I can't do anything."
Wang's recent history has been marked by injury. His season was cut short last year by a sprain of the Lisfranc ligament in his right foot, an injury sustained while running the bases on June 15 in Houston.
A 19-game winner in 2006 and '07, Wang was 1-6 with a 9.64 ERA in 12 games this year, including nine starts, and spent time on the DL from April 24 to May 22 with weakness in the abductor muscles of both hips.
"It's been a long and frustrating year," Wang said. "With my foot injury and now my shoulder, I started off the season terribly. It's definitely frustrating."
Because of the latest setback, Girardi is no longer counting on Wang's help as the Yankees try to hold off the American League East and return to the postseason after last year's absence.
"I don't really have a best-case scenario," Girardi said. "I thought the best-case scenario would be that he would pitch Sept. 1. I'm not sure if that's possible now."
Wang has a history with Andrews -- who performed arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder in 2001 -- so it is likely that if a surgical procedure was deemed necessary, Andrews would perform it. The hurler missed the entire 2001 Minor League season rehabilitating from that procedure.
Without Wang on track to return to the rotation, the Yankees have acknowledged some weakness in the depth of their staff. New York recalled right-hander Sergio Mitre from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to serve as the fifth starter, but if another move is necessary, the Yankees would transition Alfredo Aceves from the bullpen or consider Triple-A choices Kei Igawa and Ivan Nova.
General manager Brian Cashman has also not ruled out the idea of trading for a starter to help boost the club in July or beyond. But no matter the move, they have no choice but to push Wang farther out of the equation.
"I think you kind of have to look at it that way," Girardi said. "Anyone who suffers an injury, I don't think that you can say that you're going to count on them on [a given] day. There's setbacks that take place.
"You don't know when you're going to get a guy back, so you have to count on the guys that are on the roster at that time. We would love to have him back as soon as possible, but it's not something that I can tell you is going to happen."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.