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Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Yankees' Johnson, Giambi likely to have surgery

Associated Press

NEW YORK -- As if the Yankees didn't have enough to announce, general manager Brian Cashman said Randy Johnson probably will have surgery to repair a herniated disc in his back and Jason Giambi likely will have an operation to repair a torn tendon in his left wrist.

Randy Johnson
Johnson

Jason Giambi
Giambi

After owner George Steinbrenner decided to bring manager Joe Torre back for 2007 and Cashman said the Yankees won't trade Alex Rodriguez, Cashman discussed the rest of the team Tuesday.

Backup first baseman Andy Phillips will have knee surgery to repair torn cartilage. In addition, the Yankees intend to meet with Carl Pavano and the players' association over his failure to initially disclose an August car crash that resulted in broken ribs. Before the team can discipline Pavano, who hasn't pitched since June 2005 because of a string of injuries, it must hold the meeting.

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"That will take place. I promise you that," Cashman said.

In addition, Pavano and the Yankees will work on a new conditioning program for the pitcher, who has had shoulder, elbow, back and buttocks injuries.

Johnson, who pitched in the playoffs after he was diagnosed with the herniated disc, will be examined by Dr. Robert Watkins in Los Angeles.

"I believe he'll probably have surgery, but we need to hear it from Dr. Watkins," Cashman said.

If he has surgery, the 43-year-old left-hander might not be ready for the start of spring training in mid-February.

"I suspect in theory he would be behind at least a very little bit," Cashman said.

Watkins operated on Johnson's back on Sept. 12, 1996, and the Big Unit made his first start the following year on April 5.

Giambi was hampered by the wrist in the final months of the season, and had at least three injections.

"He'll have a consultation with a hand specialist," Cashman said.

Heading into the offseason, the Yankees must decide whether to exercise options on pitcher Mike Mussina ($17 million or a $1.5 million buyout), outfielder Gary Sheffield ($13 million) and pitcher Jaret Wright ($7 million or a $4 million buyout). The Yankees have until Nov. 5 to decide on Sheffield, Nov. 12 on Wright and Nov. 15 on Mussina.

It appears unlikely they would exercise options on Sheffield, who probably won't be back, and Mussina, who could stay at a lower price.

Cashman feels badly for players who leave without a World Series title.

"They'll have the good memories, but they won't have that ring that says the 'NY' on it, and that bothers me and it will continue to bother me," he said.

He also took some blame for past deals of prospects that brought the Yankees older players, saying the team had to show "restraint on rushing into trades."

"Do I have regrets that are connected to this club from decisions of the past I certainly was a part of? Yeah, I do. There's some-second-guessing there, from years gone by," he said.

Jeff Karstens, who showed promise in six big league starts, could wind up in the rotation next year. The top pitcher in the farm system, Phil Hughes, was 10-3 with a 2.25 ERA and 138 strikeouts in 116 innings for the Double-A Trenton Thunder.

In the past two seasons, the Yankees allowed second baseman Robinson Cano and Melky Cabrera to become regulars.

"The one thing I want to stress, I think the last year-and-a-half we infused a lot of youth in this thing, and I think we need to continue that," Cashman said,

Despite the lack of a World Series title since 2000 or an AL pennant since 2003, the Yankees did win the AL East for the ninth straight season.

"Yes we fell short of our goals, but we still are a force to be reckoned with," Cashman said. "We haven't fallen apart. We're not a second-division club."