NEW YORK -- Carl Pavano says he's healthy and ready to pitch
again in the major leagues.
Really. Honestly. Truly.
"I've thrown three bullpens. I just threw one this morning. I
feel pretty good," he said Friday.
The New York Yankees pitcher, 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. Earlier in the week, teammate Mike Mussina said
Pavano "needs to earn the trust from the players, the coaches, the
manager and the organization."
"I welcome any kind of thoughts like that, especially from my
teammates, especially from someone that I respect like Mike
Mussina," Pavano said during a telephone conference call.
"I couldn't really have said it better myself. I understand the
position I put myself in with the things that have happened over
the last couple of years," Pavano added. "I totally understand
why there's question marks."
Pavano, a 31-year-old right-hander, went 4-6 with a 4.77 ERA in
17 starts for the Yankees two years ago before going on the
disabled list. Having spent time with his teammates late last
season, he doesn't feel a need to apologize for the distractions he
"I don't think I rubbed anyone the wrong way or disrespected
anyone in any way," he said.
For Pavano, a turning point was when his new agent, Gregg
Clifton, introduced him to Brett Fischer late last year. Pavano
spent about nine weeks during the offseason in Phoenix working out
four-to-five hours each weekday at Fischer Sports Physical Therapy
& Conditioning. On weekends, he rode mountain bikes.
"The injury itself on my back just really messed my whole body
up," Pavano said. "It worked from my back and it went into my
shoulder, my elbow, my legs. It kind of just took over my whole
Preparing for the start of spring training on Feb. 15, Pavano
worked out on machines that he hadn't used before, ones he said
were more common for track athletes and body builders.
"I don't think I've worked any harder this offseason than I
have in the past. I've definitely worked smarter and attacked
issues that Brett was able to capitalize on and make stronger," he
said. "It was a lot of flexibility stuff. A lot of the motion in
my back was lost over the years and I regained a lot of that, and a
lot of the strength that was lost over the years and obviously
Randy Johnson, Kerry Wood, Eric Gagne and Kevin Millar work out
there, too. Fischer had Pavano exercise in unconventional ways. To
get back the whipping motion in Pavano's windup and separate his
shoulder and hip movements, Fischer had Pavano straddle tables
"like he was riding a wide, wide horse." Pavano also worked with
medicine balls and pulleys.
Fischer said Pavano had restricted movement in his lower back,
hips and both ankles, and that the pitcher needed massage therapy.
"It involved identifying specific joints that weren't moving
the way they were supposed to be move," Fischer said in a
telephone interview. "He had a lot of -- I call them nagging
injuries. He had learned to compensate one after another, and it
kind of steamrolled on him a bit. I said, 'Let's start again and
let's get all these joints moving correctly.' "
Pavano and the Yankees still have one issue to resolve. Cashman
wants to hold a formal meeting to discuss what happened last year,
when Pavano withheld from the team that he had injured his ribs in
a car accident. The Yankees may attempt to discipline Pavano for
hiding the injury from the team for several weeks.
"Our desire is probably to have a chance before spring
training, if possible, or certainly early in spring training,"
Clifton said. "We'll just all get together and try to sit down and
hash it out a little bit and move forward from there."