Notes: Starting rotation still in flux

Notes: Starting rotation still in flux

NEW YORK -- The MRI taken on Carl Pavano's sore right shoulder on Tuesday was negative, but the Yankees haven't figured out when the right-hander will return to the mound.

Pavano missed his last start after complaining of discomfort in his shoulder, and despite the encouraging MRI results, manager Joe Torre said he isn't sure if the injury will cause the right-hander to miss a second outing on Saturday against the Indians.

"We'll take the off-day to figure it out and see where he is on Thursday," Torre said after Tuesday's game. "We still haven't taken him out of the mix for Saturday. We're happy about the results. Now it's just a matter of getting him back to where he feels he's ready to pitch."

"The results came back normal," Pavano said. "We're taking it day by day. I guess we're going to start a strengthening program and go from there."

Pavano has had an inconsistent first half, going 4-6 with a 4.77 ERA in 17 starts. If Pavano isn't 100 percent by Saturday, Torre will have to find another starter.

"If there's any kind of question of whether it's right for him or not, we're not going to go there," Torre said. "The one game that we have to find a starter for isn't as important as what he could give us for the rest of the year."

Tanyon Sturtze made a spot start on Monday, but Torre didn't sound as if he would use the reliever on Saturday if Pavano can't go. Sturtze allowed four runs in 3 2/3 innings, and his absence from the bullpen forced the Yankees to turn to Scott Proctor, Wayne Franklin and Jason Anderson to combine for 4 1/3 frames on Monday.

One candidate to take Pavano's place is left-hander Darrell May, who was acquired last week from the Padres in the trade for Paul Quantrill.

May, who went 1-3 with a 5.61 ERA for San Diego, tossed seven solid innings of one-run ball, striking out seven in his first game with Triple-A Columbus on Monday night.

"That's a possibility. If we don't have Pavano, we can look at some options," Torre said. "Sturtze is one, but it really hamstrung us, having to go through the whole bullpen. We'll look for a starter for Saturday if it's not Pavano."

Jason jolt: Jason Giambi has eight hits in his past 19 at-bats (.421) and 15 in his past 41 (.366), raising his average to .268 in the process.

More important, the former American League MVP has shown some of the power he has been missing for the past year and a half, bashing two homers in Monday's win over the Orioles and another in the second inning on Tuesday. Monday marked his first two-homer game since July 18, 2003, a span of nearly two years.

"Power comes from confidence, when you're up there and not feeling for the ball," said Torre. "It looks pretty good right now. I'm sure he feels there's a ways to go, but the only way it gets better is to continue doing what he's doing, to do it more often."

Giambi has had two walk-off hits for the Yankees in the past month, drilling a game-ending home run against the Pirates on June 15 and a two-run single to complete a comeback win over the Mets on June 26. Torre sees a more confident hitter at the plate than he did earlier in the year.

"I don't think he knew, after being away for a year, what it was going to be like when he got back," Torre said. "Now he's getting that inner-conceit thing, where you go up there and challenge people to get you out."

   Bernie Williams  /   CF
Born: 09/13/68
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 205 lbs
Bats: S / Throws: R

Bernie to bench: Torre sat Bernie Williams on Tuesday, one day after his two-run single served as the game-winner against Baltimore.

Williams had started four consecutive games, going 7-for-17 in the process. He was hitless in his first four at-bats on Monday, striking out twice and grounding into a double play, but his fifth at-bat proved to be one of the most important of the day.

"He was a little tired yesterday," Torre said. "I think three day games in a row have caught up with some people."

Tampa tidbits: Torre said that Jaret Wright (strained right shoulder) may throw off a mound for the first time by the end of the week, though the right-hander may not start all the way up the mound right away.

Torre also said that Kevin Brown (strained back) is "feeling pretty good," though he didn't know Brown's exact rehab program.

"I'm pretty hopeful he'll be back and ready to pitch after the [All-Star] break," Torre said.

Happy birthday, Boss: Torre phoned George Steinbrenner before Monday's game to wish the Yankees owner a happy 75th birthday.

"He thanked me for calling," said Torre, who talked in general terms with Steinbrenner about the team. "It didn't last very long."

Torre's team went out and delivered a victory for the Boss on his birthday, losing a 6-0 lead before scoring seven runs in the eighth inning for a 13-8 win.

"Yesterday's victory was a great birthday gift from the Yankees," Steinbrenner said Tuesday in a statement through his publicist, Howard Rubenstein. "It couldn't be better."

"It was a good result," Torre said, "but it really drained you getting there."

Monumental day: The seven living Yankees who are featured on plaques in Monument Park are scheduled to be on hand for this year's Old Timers' Day on Saturday.

Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Ron Guidry, Reggie Jackson, Don Mattingly and Phil Rizzuto -- as well as Bob Sheppard, the "Voice of Yankee Stadium" -- will be joined by 44 other former Yankees stars, including 2005 Hall of Fame inductees Wade Boggs and Jerry Coleman.

On deck: After an off-day on Wednesday, the Yankees welcome the red-hot Indians to Yankee Stadium on Thursday to kick off a four-game series.

Thursday will mark the return of Aaron Boone to the Bronx, as the former Yankee will make his first appearance at Yankee Stadium since the 2003 postseason, which featured his pennant-winning, walk-off home run in Game 7 of the 2003 American League Championship Series against the Red Sox.

Mark Feinsand is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.