Monday, June 16, 2008


IF it wasn’t for bad luck, the New York Yankees would have no luck at all.

Just when the Bronx Bombers start getting it together, they suffer another injury blow . . . and a potentially crippling one at that.

Joe Girardi and his team should have returned home happy from their latest road trip, having gone 5-1 in Oakland and Houston.

Instead, Girardi is sweating on an MRI that will determine the extent of the injury to his pitching ace Chien-Ming Wang.

The signs are not good. Wang felt a pop in his right foot as he ran from third base to home plate. What was described as a “sprain” by the Yanks could well turn out to be ligament damage. Some reports are even suggesting he could be done for the season.

That would be nothing short of a disaster. The Yanks rotation is already minus Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy.

Wang has won 19 games in each of the last two seasons. He is 8-2 this year and after going through a bad patch, the man from Taipei had returned to form on the road. He gave up just one run in 7.1 innings against the Athletics and none in five against the Astros.

Should AL pitchers be required to bat?

His mishap prompts the question: Should American League pitchers really be asked to bat in National League stadiums during Interleague play?

It’s completely alien to them and, of course, it considerably heightens the risk of injury.

Right now, Wang is irreplaceable. If the news is as bad as feared, general manager Brian Cashman will have little option but to look for a trade.

C.C. Sabathia is the name being bandied about in the media. Sabathia becomes a free agent at the end of the season and the Cleveland Indians would no doubt like to get something for him.

But – and it’s a big but – are they going to be prepared to trade him before the All-Star break when they’re only 5.5 games out in the AL Central Division? 

I guess it all depends on what the Yanks can offer. But you can be sure that even if they’re willing to talk, they’re going to be asking the earth, just as the Minnesota Twins did for Johan Santana last winter.

Wang’s injury notwithstanding, the Yanks have finally found their form. All aspects of their game came together in Houston. Good pitching, timely hitting and outstanding fielding.

With a six-game home stand against San Diego, then Cincinnati, starting tomorrow night, they have an opportunity to make further inroads into the six-game lead held by the Boston Red Sox.

The only problem is they will have to do it without their No. 1 pitcher.

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