<
>

Tommy John surgery expected soon for Yanks' Pavano

5/24/2007 - MLB Carl Pavano New York Yankees + more

NEW YORK -- Carl Pavano is headed for reconstructive elbow
surgery, probably ending his unproductive stint with the New York Yankees and making his contract a $40 million bust.


After being examined by four doctors over the past few weeks,
Pavano met Wednesday with Yankees general manager Brian Cashman to
go over all the medical documents. Pavano's agent, Gregg Clifton,
said the pitcher will have the operation.

Carl Pavano

Pavano



"All four doctors conclude that he has a damaged ligament and
recommend Tommy John surgery," Cashman said.

"We're looking at the realistic possibility that he won't pitch for us anymore."

The right-hander will be sidelined for most if not all of what
remains on his $39.95 million, four-year deal, which runs through
2008.

"The time is not on our side, obviously, for him to get totally
recovered," Cashman said. "Is it possible? Outside possibility
the second half of next year, but everything would have to go
right.

"It's unfortunate, it really is. When we signed him we had high
expectations."

Cashman said Pavano has a tear in his elbow ligament.

"Some of the doctors say it's possible that, he's gone through
rest and therapy and a throwing program, it's possible to try that
again. But there's some risks that can go with that. You could do
further damage to the elbow," Cashman said.

Clifton said Dr. James Andrews will operate soon.

"Now that the parties have had an opportunity to discuss this
together, they've come to the conclusion surgery is Carl's only
option," Clifton said. "We will attempt to schedule surgery as
quickly as possible with Dr. Andrews. We hope to have a date for
surgery by Thursday, once we have an opportunity to confer with Dr.
Andrews and his scheduling team."

While two of the doctors said a conservative rehabilitation
program could be tried, which could entail risk of additional
damage, the Yankees left the decision up to Pavano, Yankees
president Randy Levine said.

Pavano hasn't pitched since April 9. He saw Yankees physician
Dr. Stuart Hershon, New York Mets medical director Dr. David
Altchek, Los Angeles Angels medical director Dr. Lewis Yocum and
Andrews.

It remained unclear whether the ligament was fully or partially
torn.

"Tears don't heal on their own, but the good news is in this
day and age, there is a way and an ability to correct the tear and
give Carl the opportunity to resume his career," Clifton said.

A free-agent flop since signing with the Yankees before the 2005
season, Pavano is 5-7 in 19 starts, including 1-0 with a 4.76 ERA
in two starts this year. He was sidelined from June 27, 2005,
through the 2006 season by shoulder, back, elbow and rib injuries,
then returned this year. He felt forearm soreness during a win at
Minnesota on April 9, an injury the Yankees didn't originally think
was serious.

Cashman said he's seen all the medical records on Pavano the
past three years, and all his injuries have been legitimate.

"I never once thought that he laid down on this club," Cashman
said.


"I had high hopes for Carl to be a stabilizer, a solid No. 3 at worst," Cashman added, according to The New York Times. "It just hasn't happened. The reasons he hasn't pitched have been physical every step of the way. Those are the facts."

The Associated Press contributed to this story.