Thursday, August 31, 2006

Le Tigre...or Is That Blue Steel?

The Yankees scored one more run in today's rubber game of their series with the Tigers than they did in two games yesterday. The Tigers scored one less than their cumulative Wednesday total, which gave the Yanks a 6-4 win at the Stadium. Breaking out (we hope) was Alex Rodriguez, doubling to set up a run in the fifth inning, then blasting one out to left field in the seventh. Randy Johnson went eight plus innings, and pitched a good game, but was vulnerable to the longball--surrendering a two-run shot in the ninth to ex-Yank farmhand Marcus Thames that sent the Unit to the showers, and made for a slightly more tense appearance for Mariano Rivera than we would have hoped.

Still, all's well that ends well. The Yanks probably should have gotten a sweep against the Tigers, who have slumped in the second half. In the nightcap of yesterday's twinbill, the Yanks took a 3-2 lead into the ninth inning, before Scott Proctor gave up a really long ball to Craig Monroe, for a three-run shot and a 5-3 final. The Yanks won the early game by a 2-0 score, behind some great pitching from Chien Ming Wang, backed by Proctor and Rivera. Rivera got the late game off, but Everyday Scottie was called on for the double-dip and the save when Kyle Farnsworth was unable to answer the bell for the second game. The Yanks' free agent pitchers over the past couple of years sure have been hothouse flowers, haven't they?

I guess that's a segway, isn't it?


"Come on, don't be afraid, Carlo. Come on, you think I'd make my sister a widow? I'm Godfather to your son, Carlo...No, Carlo, you're out of the Family business, that's your punishment. You're finished. I'm putting you on a plane to Vegas...I want you to stay there, understand? Only don't tell me you're innocent. Because it insults my intelligence -- and makes me very angry."

--Either Brian Cashman talking to Carl-o Pavano about his latest injury, or what Michael Corleone told Carlo Rizzi just before Clemenza strangled him on the way to the airport.

What are we to make of Carl-o? Pavano, that is. He's been the man of a thousand owies over the past two years--out from June on last year with shoulder stiffness that didn't require surgery and never seemed to be properly defined as a tear of any part of his shoulder. Then, when it looked like he might be on his way back to the rotation, he had back pain. Then he fell on his ass, and that became a disabling buttocks injury. Then he had bone spurs in his elbow. At every point along the way, Carl-o seemed to take longer getting back to action than you'd expect. Spent a lot of time throwing on flat ground, that sort of thing.

So when it was revealed, after Pavano pitched six strong innings at AAA, that he had a pain in his side, it wasn't exactly a surprise. Some guys get what Will Carroll calls "cascade injuries"-- such as, a guy compensates by favoring an injured ankle, and winds up hurting his back; he then winds up shortening his stride to protect his back, and winds up putting pressure on his shoulder; he changes his arm angle to make things easier on his shoulder, and his elbow starts to hurt. Each thing the cascade guy does to compensate for his injury throws some other body part out of balance, causing it to be injured.

So it just looked like Carl Pavano had the Niagara Falls of all cascade injuries. Others seemed to believe that some of the injuries were exagerrated, that Pavano simply didn't want to play in New York. Then, it turned out that Pavano actually had broken ribs. Sustained in a car accident, a couple of weeks ago, that he didn't tell anybody about.

That's just bizarre. Since the injury's real--you can't fake broken ribs--and reports claim that pitching with the injury was putting stress on Pavano's shoulder (sound familiar) he's off the mound, and back on flat ground again. Maybe--maybe--he could be back on a mound in two weeks. Maybe he pitches for the Yanks as a reliever. Oh, whopee!

So what's left is Pavano's stunning lack of judgment, concealing the accident, and his teammate's derision, for a guy who always seems to stop a step away from getting back on a big league mound. Brian Cashman's investigating, and the press keeps floating the idea that the Yanks could void Pavano's contract--which, quite frankly, sounds far-fetched.

So, at least for this year, Carl-o's dead to us. Here's hoping the Yanks have a terrific insurance policy on this yutz.

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