Carl Pavano: Big, fat pussy

From today’s Under the Knife (subscription required):

Here’s the long and short on Carl Pavano–even before he had an MRI or saw a specialist, he’d made the decision to have Tommy John surgery…

Much like Octavio Dotel a few years ago, though, Pavano is simply not willing to pitch through the soreness…

Call him “American Idle” or the “Rajah of Rehab” if you want. In my opinion, he’s gone beyond that, and is simply stealing money.

The gist of the article is that Pavano’s UCL is torn, but not completely, and it shouldn’t necessitate surgery. By having the surgery, he basically ends his tenure as a Yankee, which I’m sure he welcomes.

Notice that I didn’t once mention his name in the Clemens article. The Yanks are certainly better off at this point not having Carl Pavano around. Though, if he just allowed the injury to heal and was willing to pitch through pain, he could be added to that budding bullpen mix. That’s just not happening, though.

This leaves the Yanks in an interesting scenario. They don’t need Pavano; not now, not later this season, not next year. He wants to have surgery that is not necessary — on the team’s dime, for certain — and then rehab — also on the team’s dime. If he continues to insist on surgery against the team’s will, DFA him. Now, I’m not sure if that removes the team’s responsibility to pay for his surgery and rehab. But if it does, there’s no reason for Pavano to stick around. Let some other team deal with him.

Miller’s exercise program coming under scrutiny

File this one in the too-little, too-late department, but dismissed coach Marty Miller’s running program is coming under fire today.

Over at the excellent Baseball Musings, David Pinto asked Bob Sikes, former assistant trainer to the Mets and Getting Paid To Watch blogger, his take on the Miller controversy. Sikes had some interesting points to make:

The hamstring has its own unique role in biomechanics. Running involves the hamstring to fire both types of contractions-concentric and eccentric. Or in laymen terms, shortening the muscle and then lengthening it under stress. Weight room activities are designed to supplement and athletes ability to run. If Miller desired to decrease the amount of running in favor of something else, he made a decision that’s ended up burning many professionals.

Yanks’ GM Brian Cashman has taken some heat for hiring Miller from a health club to join a professional baseball team, and Miller was fired when the players practically revolted and refused to partake in his program. There’s more than meets the eye to this situation.

I have to wonder just what was going through Cashman’s mind when he brought Miller on. He messed with players’ work-out programs right at the start of Spring Training, and now the Yanks are paying the price. They’ve seen four hamstring injuries since the middle of March.

It’s too late now, and Miller is gone. But Brian Cashman should be questions about this guy. What made the Yanks turn to Miller in the first place anyway?

Pavano and Tommy John may soon have something in common

Well, folks, the Carl Pavano Experience may finally be coming to an end. Loyal reader Jason B. sent us this tip from Don Amore’s blog. Carl Pavano is heading to see Dr. James Andrews and could be out for quite a while.

The Pavano news is bad. He had been throwing on the side, and got up on the mound on Sunday, but though the team kept saying he was getting better, he didn’t seem so optimistic. He is going to see Dr. James Andrews in Alabama and may, in fact, need Tommy John surgery, which would finish him for this season and probably next season,too, possibly ending is career.

“It’s getting ridiculous, the team needs me,” Pavano said. “It’s frustrating for all of us.”

There just ain’t much left to say about the man some Yankee writers have dubbed the Rajah of Rehab. Carl Pavano will pocket $39.95 million for what looks like 19 starts over four years. This will go down as one of the worst signings in Yankee history, but now, we can stick a fork in Pavano because he’s done.

The silver lining in the cloud of a Grade II hamstring strain

hamstring.gif The argument that Phil Hughes‘ body wasn’t ready for the Big Leagues is just an excuse to dump on the Yankees. Sure, adrenaline probably caused him to overstride last night in an effort to keep that no htiter alive. We would have been better off with a hit earlier in the game.

But come on. Phil Hughes is a 20-year-old in great athletic shape. Are you telling me that Mike Mussina isn’t conditioned enough for the Big Leagues? That Hideki Matsui should log some AAA innings until his hamstrings are stronger? That Chien-Ming Wang should be demoted to work on his leg strength? Give me a break.

I believe that those of you promoting this theory are just looking for ways to dump on Brian Cashman and Joe Torre. Sure, they don’t always make the right moves, but this reeks of picking and choosing evidence to fit your theory. And frankly, those making this argument sound like Cubs fans or pre-2004 Red Sox fans. This was a fluke injury brought about by an over-eager pitcher. It has nothing to do with time spent or not spent at AAA. (I do feel that the Yanks should look at better stretching and muscle strengthening programs. Team yoga is sounding like a better idea with each passing day.)

While Peter Abraham tried to make that exact argument earlier today, he notes that Hughes has a Grade II hamstring strain. So what exactly is a Grade II hamstring strain? Luckily, the Google is a great source of information and pointed me to Eaton Orthopaedics. They note:

A Grade II hamstring pull is usually associated with a loud audible pop. With a Grade II pull, the muscle actually pulls away from the tendon. More bruising is seen in the back of the thigh. The athlete has a decreased range of motion for the hip and the knee. This is a more severe injury, and the time back to sports is between 4 to 6 weeks.

A Grade III hamstring pull is the most severe type of hamstring pull. In this condition the muscle completely pulls away from the tendon. The athlete will usually feel a large lump in the back of his thigh. This is associated with a significant amount of pain and swelling immediately after the injury. Time back to sports for a Grade III injury is usually 6 to 12 weeks.

Since Hughes walked off on his own power and noted last night in the postgame interviews that he wasn’t in pain, I am going to say he has a Grade II strain. While 4 to 6 weeks seems optimistic, I’m hoping Hughes can come back by the end of June.

And therein lies the rub.

Right now, Phil Hughes, 20, was on pace for about 200 innings this year not counting the playoffs. While forced time off due to an injury is never good, Phil Hughes will now see his innings pitched hit a fine mark for a kid turning 21 this year. In fact, Hughes may throw fewer innings this year than last. If, as we believe, he makes about 25 starts this year instead of 33, he’ll reach about 150 innings. Add on another handful for the playoffs, and he’s around 160-180, depending upon how deep the Yankees go.

So Hughes’ hamstring slows down the Yankees’ aggressive timetable for his arm. And his arm wasn’t injured either.

So we can bemoan the short-term loss of Hughes, and personally, I am annoyed because I would have seen him at the Stadium on Sunday. But in the medium- and long-term outlooks, there are plenty of reasons for optimism. This isn’t the end of the Yankee season. It’s just a hiccup.