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Back in the Bay (cont.)

Posted: Thursday August 31, 2006 11:10AM; Updated: Thursday August 31, 2006 11:52PM
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Pavano: Pain in the rump

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While Twins pitcher Brad Radke heroically pitches with a "shredded shoulder," Carl Pavano has been out since June 27, 2005, with an assortment of mostly minor injuries, the latest pair (broken ribs and shoulder pain, he says) the result of his involvement in a once-secret car accident.

The only conclusion that can be drawn is this: Pavano is either a faker or among the most fragile players in baseball history.

Pavano's signature injury was a pain in the butt, supposedly suffered earlier this year. But without medical proof, Yankees management has been reluctant to try to void his contract; the likelihood of success is slim and execs wanted to avoid sending a negative message to future free agents.

But when Pavano withheld news of his car accident for two weeks, the Yankees began investigating whether there actually was a car accident. Had Pavano injured himself doing something outlawed in his waste of a $39.95 million contract, the Yankees would have acted to void the contract or spare themselves some portion of it. However, there is nothing to outlaw driving, even bad driving, which is apparently what Pavano engaged in here.

While they're annoyed that he didn't tell them about the car accident for two weeks, there's nothing they can do other than fine him a few pennies.

As one competing GM said, "They're stuck."

Around the majors

• As the deadline to acquire players for postseason play hits Thursday at midnight, the Mets are in the market for a backup catcher and a backup infielder after deciding not to send the requested prospect to Colorado for Danny Ardoin and infielder Luis Gonzalez.

• The Mets' real question is in the rotation. "I'm not entirely comfortable," one Mets official said. There may be nothing they can do about it. They weren't showing much interested in David Wells, who appeared likely to be dealt Thursday.

• Not too many stars will change hands before the latest deadline. But John Mabry, Jose Mesa and Ray King are among players being discussed.

• Decimated Boston, which once had a 3½-game lead in the AL East, appears ready to give up Wells, although a request reported in the Boston Herald (for top Dodgers prospect Matt Kemp) would indicate they aren't ready to give away Wells. Of Kemp, one scout said, "This guy is Dave Winfield. And he's only 21." Nobody's trading a 21-year-old Winfield for Wells.

• I'm not saying the lineups Boston has posting lately are weak, but Wednesday's featured 52 home runs, which is five more than David Ortiz has. The big homer hitter was Mike Lowell, with 15, which was still less than the player who led off for the Yankees (Johnny Damon, 22) and the player who batted ninth (Craig Wilson, 16).

• I'm betting Roy Oswalt benefited in his $73 million, five-year extension from Kevin Millwood's $60 million deal and also from teammate Roger Clemens' pro-rated $21 million, one-year deal. And that Barry Zito will benefit from Oswalt.

• The Royals may not have much to brag about, but they can claim to be a training ground for great outfielders. Carlos Beltran and Jermaine Dye may be MVPs, Raul Ibañez already has 100 RBIs and Damon may be the Yankees' most valuable position player.

• For those looking for another Subway Series, the Yankees and the Mets are the only teams not to have had a losing month this year.