Monday, August 28, 2006

Pavano - A Waste Of Time

The Carl Pavano saga added yet another chapter Monday with news that Pavano has two fractured ribs suffered in a car accident on Aug. 15 in West Palm Beach, Fla. The accident occurred the morning of a rehab assignment for Class A Tampa.
Pavano, who hasn't pitched in the Majors in 14 months due to shoulder, back, buttocks and most recently elbow injuries, didn't report the accident to senior vice president and general manager Brian Cashman until Saturday.

The Yankees starter felt discomfort in his ribcage after pitching six innings for Triple-A Columbus on Friday night. He felt he was ready to return to the Yankees following the start, but the injury didn't seem to get any better, so he decided to inform Yankees management.

"Of course I'm angry," Cashman said. "You can't help somebody if they won't help themselves. ... I've got an army of people here that we provide to put our players in the best position possible to succeed, and I don't want anybody to sabotage that by holding back. And clearly, here, for a period of time that took place."

Pavano appeared to be on his way back to the Yankees' rotation and was tentatively scheduled to make a start some time later this week. Now, after getting a full checkup and throwing a side session on Monday, Pavano will make another rehab start with Columbus on Wednesday before being reevaluated by doctors and Yankees management.

"If he's healthy, he'll pitch," Cashman said, adding that it will be manager Joe Torre's decision on where Pavano will fit into the rotation or bullpen. It was believed that Pavano could have replaced Jaret Wright in the rotation or at least fill in while Mike Mussina was on the disabled list, but Wright will start on Thursday.

Pavano said his car hit a puddle and spun out of control, hitting a truck that was at a stop sign. Pavano said his car wasn't totaled, that he wasn't charged with the accident and that he didn't get any medical treatment on the scene or afterward.

Pavano did not inform any coaches about the accident and made three rehab starts before reporting what happened. He said he didn't feel much pain just after the accident. Pavano threw four scoreless innings that night, so he figured he could play through it.

But the pain didn't go away despite icing it himself, forcing him to "come clean and get the right treatment."

"It just seems like there's a lot of distractions that are caused by me that go around with the team, and I figured that, at the time, it was something I could get through," Pavano said. "It backfired on me. I take full responsibility for making the wrong decision. It's been frustrating for me. Obviously, I want to pitch."

Cashman remembered former Yankee Paul O'Neill playing through a similar injury. Still, Cashman said that it's the obligation of every player to always report any injuries and that he's still gathering information on whether Pavano broke any contractual obligations.

Pavano signed a four-year, $39.95 million contract before last season following an 18-8 season with the Marlins. He has started just 17 games for the Yankees, going 4-6 with a 4.77 ERA. Pavano said the pressures placed on him to finally return to the club added to his reasons for not telling Yankees management about the injury sooner.

"There are a lot of expectations that I put on myself two years ago that I still haven't gotten the chance to move forward on," he said. "I put pressure on myself to pitch and be a big part of the team and not be a distraction, which is basically how I feel.

"It would be nice to get those things behind me. The only way I can do that is go out there on the mound and do my job and try to live up to why they signed me. Those things are very important to me."

On Sunday, several Yankees players, who asked to remain nameless, questioned Pavano's desire to return to the team. Upon hearing of Pavano's rib injury, which was originally thought to be a strain, Torre said, "It became one of those things where it took the air out of the balloon again."

Cashman said he's only worried about Pavano's health right now, and Pavano also said he's not concerned with his teammates' reactions if or when he returns to the clubhouse.

"I don't feel like I need anybody to feel sorry for me," Pavano said. "I'll do what I have to do to get through this. If they don't understand, I don't think I have much control over that. Me talking to them or trying to save face -- that's not the type of guy I am.

"I can understand why some people think that happens for some reason or this happens for some reason," he continued. "But I'm really the only one who has the answers. So a lot of the answers depend on how I perform, and I understand that."

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BallHype: hype it up! Posted by Steve Kenul at 11:47 PM


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