NEW YORK -- Just last week, the Yankees were starting to plan for Chien-Ming Wang's return to the starting rotation. Now, the question is if -- not when -- Wang will be back this season.
Wang, dealing with a right shoulder injury, suffered a setback in his rehab on Monday. The right-hander played catch before the Yankees' game against the Orioles for the first time since going on the disabled list on July 5 and felt tenderness in his bicep. The original plan was for Wang to throw again on Tuesday, but that has been scrapped, and he will wait until at least Friday.
Manager Joe Girardi was visibly disappointed when he addressed the media after Wang's throwing session and acknowledged that anything the Yankees get out of Wang the rest of the season would be considered a bonus.
"Any time you're dealing with a [rotator] cuff issue and shoulder tendinitis -- or whatever you want to describe it as -- there's concern," Girardi said. "Whatever it is he's able to do, we would love to have."
After a dismal start to the season, Wang was finally starting to regain his typical form. He worked into the sixth inning against the Blue Jays on July 4 and was in the midst of his best start of the season, when he suddenly felt tightness in his shoulder and was forced out prematurely.
Girardi said that at this point, he does not believe Wang's injury will require surgery, but the manager was unable to provide any new timetable for his return.
"We hoped that two weeks would be enough for him to get on a throwing program," Girardi said. "Does that mean he won't pitch this year? No, I'm not saying that, but obviously it's not going to be as soon as we thought because now we're taking a few days off."
To fill Wang's spot in their starting rotation, the Yankees are turning to right-hander Sergio Mitre, who will be called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to start on Tuesday. With the non-waiver Trade Deadline looming at the end of the month, history suggests the Yankees will be in the market for another starter to fill the void, but Girardi said he's feeling confident with what he has here already.
"I think any time someone's injured and you're not sure when exactly they're going to be back, you can't count on them," Girardi said. "You've got to count on the people in the room."
Jared Diamond is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.