I might have rooted for Pavano to rebound after his tough four years, but then I read this today.
http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd ... Id=rss_cle
CLEVELAND -- Carl Pavano's four seasons with the Yankees were painful enough on the physical front.
But when speaking to reporters Friday about his decision to sign with the Indians, Pavano made them sound painful on the emotional front, as well.
"When you're down, you expect your organization to pick you up, not kick you when you're down," Pavano said. "I've had to pick myself up quite a few times the last four years."
Pavano's time in New York will be remembered for the punchlines, not the punchouts. He was paid $39.95 million to pitch in 26 games, and his work ethic and commitment to the organization was openly called into question by his teammates.
In case anyone is wondering when he was called into question, it was by both Joe Torre and Mike Mussina in ST a few years ago. Here's an excerpt I found.
A short while later, Mussina said the oft-injured Pavano isn't in sync with his teammates just yet.
"He needs to show a lot of people that he wants to go out there and pitch for us. If he shows us that, I think everything is going to be fine," Mussina said.
Pavano hasn't pitched in the major leagues since June 2005 because of shoulder, back, buttocks, elbow and rib injuries. Entering the third season of a $39.95 million, four-year contract, the 31-year-old right-hander has made just 17 starts for the Yankees, going 4-6 with a 4.77 ERA.
On Tuesday, when asked how much work Pavano had to do to regain the trust and respect of his teammates, Yankees manager Joe Torre responded: "It's sizable."
"Joe obviously has his opinions on it," Pavano told reporters. "I didn't come in here nervous that my teammates are going to oust me or give me the cold shoulder. I know that definitely there's respect to be earned. Other things that were said, I think were just things that you guys are having a lot of fun with."
Mussina, the senior pitcher in the Yankees' starting rotation, took issue with that, saying the chasm was real and not just a media creation. Sitting in his corner chair in the clubhouse at Legends Field, taking pauses to phrase his words precisely, he spoke of the frustration he has felt.
"He's only looking at it from his perspective. We're looking at it from our perspective, those of us that have been through both years. We want him to go out there and show that he wants to do this," Mussina said. "It got to a point where we just didn't even want to hear about it or talk about it anymore."
The extent of how much Pavano must do to regain respect was evident when Mussina was asked whether he would give Pavano the benefit of the doubt that he's going to do all he can to pitch.
"No, not just yet. Not yet, no," Mussina replied. "I want to see that he wants to do it."
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has repeatedly said that all of Pavano's injuries were legitimate. But while Pavano wasn't pitching, center fielder Johnny Damon, first baseman Jason Giambi, Mussina and others played hurt.
"When one guy is out there playing the game despite whatever is going on and somebody else is not, that's how teammates get bad tastes in their mouths," Mussina said. "As another starting pitcher, who hasn't been 100 percent for all of the last two years, I know what it takes to be able to go out there and pitch, and I know when you can't go out there and pitch. And sometimes it's a fine line, but I think after 15 years I kind of know where the line is."
Pavano says that one injury led to another and that he finally feels well after working out with a new trainer in Arizona during the offseason. Some of his teammates kept pointing out that each time it appeared he was close to being ready to pitch in the major leagues, another injury occurred.
"I'm looking at from a perspective of just the way each thing happened and the timing of it and just piecing all those things together," Mussina said. "You get to form your own evaluation. It didn't look good. From a player's and a teammate's standpoint, it didn't look good. Was everything just coincidence over and over again? I don't know."
Taking his regular turn in the rotation would solve Pavano's problem with his teammates.
"If he does those things, eventually it's going to show everybody that he wants to be out there pitching for us," Mussina said.
This guy collected $40 million dollars and didn't do a damn thing in New York. And now he's going to complain that he wasn't treated fairly? When HIS motivation was called into question by a veteran and borderline HOF pitcher and the manager of the team, of whom in my experience, rarely speak negatively about anyone?
Good riddance. I hope the fans shower him with boos when he comes to NY for the first series at Yankee Stadium. That is, if he isn't already on the DL by that time.