Carl Pavano, A True New York Yankee Story
Carl Pavano signed a one-year deal with the Cleveland Indians last week, ending a four-year stay with the New York Yankees. His four years in New York were primarily spent on the disabled list, and only briefly interrupted by pitching.
In honor of this all-too-welcome departure, I thought I’d chronicle Pavano’s time with the Yankees. But on second thought, four years of happenings seemed like way too much work for a kid on Christmas Break. Then on third thought, four years in Pavano time isn’t actually that long when translated to actual working time, so I figured I’d give it a go.
December 20, 2004: Carl Pavano signs a 4-year contract with the Yankees worth $39.95 million, despite receiving larger offers from the Boston Red Sox and the Cincinnati Reds.
April 5, 2005: Pavano makes his New York debut, allowing two runs in 6.1 innings in a 4-3 win over Boston.
April 10, 2005: Pavano lasts only two innings against Baltimore in a 7-2 loss.
April 15, 2005: Pavano one-downs himself by allowing seven runs in an 8-1 loss to Baltimore.
April 20 – May 22, 2005: Pavano goes 4-0 over seven starts, including a complete game shutout.
May 28 – June 22, 2005: Pavano goes 0-4 over his next seven starts.
June 27, 2005: Pavano injures his right shoulder in a start against Baltimore, and is done for the rest of the season. He finishes his first season as a Yankee with a 4-6 record and a 4.77 ERA in 17 starts.
August 28, 2005: In an article published on my birthday, Pavano was quoted as saying he enjoyed playing the guitar.
Even though I’m really good now,” Pavano said, “I wasn’t always this great. It’s a dangerous instrument to learn and I went weeks without playing it as a kid when I got blisters. I even strained my groin pretty bad during a performance of Take My Breath Away, from Top Gun. I was good, but I really wish I could sing it like Jessica Simpson does. Man, she’s good.”
September 12, 2006: The Yankees announced they expected Pavano to be healthy and ready for the 2006 season. In the time it took me to write that last sentence, Carl Pavano earned $5,000.
January 14, 2006: Pavano announced he would not play in the inaugural World Baseball Classic. He said he had no country to play for since Punkjerkland decided not to participate in the tournament.
February 28, 2006: Pavano lands on the disabled list after bruising his buttocks in a Spring Training game. No, not kidding. He bruised his buttocks. Details were never released regarding the nature of the injury. I suspected Pavano was too enthusiastic with his new Pilates: How To Get A Perky Butt video.
May 10, 2006: Pavano has surgery to remove a bone chip from his right elbow.
May 11, 2006: Pavano was disciplined for taking a swing at Kyle Farnsworth when Farnsy called Pavano a “Donkey Kong Barrel Thrower”. Pavano is apparently quite superstitious about people talking about him throwing things, because it increases the likelihood of him re-injuring himself.
August 15, 2006 – 1PM: Pavano makes his first minor league rehab start for Class-A Tampa, tossing four scoreless innings.
August 15, 2006 – 10PM: To celebrate his successful return to the mound, Pavano totals his 2006 Porsche, causing $30,000 damage to his car, $20,000 damage to the tractor trailer he rammed and $10,000 to his supermodel passenger.
August 28, 2006: The Yankees inform Pavano they’re recalling him to the Majors, and he informs them he broke two ribs in a car accident two weeks ago.
September 15, 2006: Pavano suffers a forearm strain in his haste to sign the lease on the new Porsche he purchased to replace the one he totaled.
February 27, 2007: Yankee pitcher Mike Mussina said that Pavano needed to prove that he wanted to pitch for the team. Mussina said he does not believe he is the only Yankee who feels this way. The Yankee fanbase said “duh”
April 2, 2007: Pavano is the Yankees Opening Day Starter, allowing five runs in four innings to the then-terrible Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
April 15, 2007: Pavano is placed on the disabled list with an elbow strain.
May 23, 2007: Pavano opts for Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.
September 1, 2007: Pavano is in Tampa for rehab and has not wrecked any cars this time.
December 2, 2007: The Yankees ask Pavano to accept a minor league contract to clear space on their 40-man roster, Pavano’s agent, Tom O’Connell, stated that he would consider the request, but he later turned it down.
January 28, 2008 With his rehab progressing quicker than expected, Pavano begins exploring the options for having Tommy John surgery on his left (non-throwing) arm as well. Pavano issued the following statement:
Because of the Tommy John surgery, I didn’t have to throw a baseball for like six months. Oh my god I love baseball. I get paid millions of dollars a year to be on a baseball team. The only thing I hate about it is when they want me to play. Why don’t they just let me stay home by myself so I can memorize Fall To Pieces, by Avril Lavigne? Everything’s so Complicated.
January 31, 2008: A Carl Pavano autographed baseball goes for $39.95 on eBay. Ironic, or pathetic?
February 6, 2008: Carl Pavano arrives in Tampa and begins to play catch. After his first 8-minute session of short toss, he walks over to the Powerade cooler. He pours himself a cup without incident, but chokes a little as some of the Gatorade reportedly “went down the wrong pipe.” The resultant cough strained Pavano’s right oblique muscle.
February 17, 2008: Pavano leaves the Spring Training Complex wearing a “Bongs, Not Bombs” t-shirt. He is speaking to a class of fourth-graders about non-violent solutions.
March 15, 2008: Pavano’s agent calls his client a “1-2 starter” and says those types of pitchers “don’t grow on trees.” Yankee fans assume by “1-2 starter” that the agent meant how many starts per year Pavano makes.
July 29, 2008: Pavano makes his first rehab start for the Charleston RiverDogs.
August 5, 2008: Joba Chamberlain lands on the disabled list along with fellow uber-hyped prospects Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy. Carl Pavano is told to stop pretending to be the minor league strength and conditioning coach.
August 20, 2008: Pavano is scheduled to return to the Yankees the following week when owner George Steinbrenner overrules a calling of random numbers to let fans pitch.
August 23, 2008: Pavano gets the win by allowing three runs in five innings against Baltimore. Gets bonus point for drilling Kevin Millar in the butt.
September 14, 2008: Pavano went 5.1 innings and allowed four runs before suffering a hip injury in when he landed oddly on his delivery. Blamed the injury on Mike Mussina’s affection for hip-hop music.
September 26, 2008: Carl Pavano lasted less than four innings and gave up five runs in his final “Screw You” to Yankee fans.
December 10, 2008: According to a report, the Yankees don’t want to offer free agent pitcher AJ Burnett five guaranteed years. Carl Pavano offered his opinion on the matter:
They (the Yankees) should just give him a fifth year. If I had five years on my contract, I’d have showed everybody. Four years just isn’t enough time to get ready to pitch.
January 6, 2009: Carl Pavano signs a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the Cleveland Indians, with another $5.3 million attainable through incentives.