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Sunday, March 11, 2007
Updated: March 12, 12:15 PM ET
Yankees allowed Pavano to attend to girlfriend

Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. -- New York Yankees pitcher Carl Pavano says he missed his scheduled spring training start last Friday because of a medical situation involving his girlfriend.

Carl Pavano
Carl Pavano, pictured March 4 during his only spring start, says he'll have a clear head when he pitches Monday.

Pavano, who discussed the matter for the first time Sunday, left Legends Field about 45 minutes before Friday's game after receiving permission from the team. The right-hander returned Saturday and threw a 45-pitch bullpen session in preparation for a start Monday night against Boston.

"The reason I left, my girlfriend had a severe medical condition and I had to be with her," Pavano said.

Pavano didn't give specifics about the problem, but said his girlfriend is "doing well."

Pavano didn't ask for permission to leave Friday, but was told to by New York manager Joe Torre.

"It definitely weighed on me," Pavano said. "There definitely was a little bit of a struggle about me wanting to pitch. I went with the voice of reason because my head was kind of going in both directions. In life, sometimes there are things you've got to take care of that take precedent over that."

Pavano has made one spring start, on March 4 -- eight days after his left instep was bruised by a line drive during batting practice. Pavano, who is starting the third season of a $39.95 million, four-year contract, hasn't pitched in the major leagues since June 27, 2005, due to shoulder, back, buttocks, elbow and rib injuries.

"I'm looking forward to my start tomorrow," Pavano said. "It's not the first time I've had issues or things going on."