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A Rough Tuesday for Pitchers

It may not have been doomsday, but yesterday wasn't a good day's when it came to health of starting pitchers.

Three past All-Stars -- San Francisco's Randy Johnson, the Yankees' Ching-Ming Wang and Houston's Roy Oswalt -- all had a turn for the worse in injury issues that could sideline them for a long time, and could affect their teams' chances of slipping into the postseason as a result.

Of the three, Wang's injury was by far the worst. Of course, Wang didn't suffer the injury yesterday. Rather, it's been a season-long struggle for the man who served as New York's most consistent pitcher over the past four seasons. Wang, suffering from a shoulder injury, has spent two separate stints on the disabled list, the final turn beginning after leaving his final start on July 4. He's undergoing shoulder surgery by the one and only Dr. James Andrews today, ending his season at 1-6 with a 9.64 ERA. Ouch.

As for the Big Unit, San Francisco's veteran pitching presence is out for at least three weeks with a torn rotator cuff in his left shoulder. That shouldn't be a season-crippling issue if Johnson makes it back in three weeks, but the odds of that happening are incredibly slim. Instead, it's likely that he would return in early September, if at all, to help San Francisco down the stretch. Johnson has come back from injuries before, but given his age it's anyone's guess when he could be back on the mound wearing an interlocking SF on his hat.

While the Giants and Yankees have a bit more depth to buffer the loss of two stars (heck, the Yankees have been much better this year without Wang anyway), the Astros hardly have that luxury. When Oswalt walked off the mound in the second inning of last night's Houston win over the Cubs, complaining of back pain, he took with him Houston's hopes of a second half push toward the playoffs. If he doesn't return soon, the Astros' postseason chances probably won't return, either. There's no word about the severity of Oswalt's injury yet, but given his stature and past back problems, no back issue that forces a reputed "tough guy" like Oswalt to leave a game in the second inning can be considered a good thing.

Of course, none of these developments are good for any of these teams. That being said, which team is hurt the most by losing a key contributor? Will losing Wang/Johnson/Oswalt push New York/San Francisco/Houston toward making a last ditch deal at the deadline? What do people think?

By Cameron Smith  |  July 29, 2009; 12:38 PM ET
Categories:  Astros , Giants , Yankees  | Tags: Astros, Ching-Ming Wang, Giants, Randy Johnson, Roy Oswalt, Yankees, injuries  
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