Notes: Pavano set for rehab start

Notes: Pavano set for rehab start

CHICAGO -- Carl Pavano will take the mound at Legends Field on Thursday, beginning what will essentially be Spring Training for the right-hander.

The outing will mark his first rehab start since May 23, when he left a game in Trenton with soreness in his arm. Pavano underwent surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow shortly after that, putting him on the shelf for about six weeks.

Although it initially looked like Pavano wouldn't be ready to make a rehab start until late August, the Yankees have been impressed with his stuff during bullpen and batting practice sessions. He will take the hill for Class A Tampa on Thursday, the first of several rehab outings he will make.

"This will be slow," manager Joe Torre said. "We're dealing with someone who hasn't been competitive in a year, so it won't be a couple of starts. This will be a Spring Training type of program where he gradually gets there."

Pavano will likely need to throw about 25 innings before joining the Yankees, but Torre seems intrigued by what the right-hander may offer during the season's final month.

"If he goes out there and has a few starts, it could be an interesting decision to make," he said. "It could happen early enough where we'd have some depth in our starting rotation. The stuff we saw is pretty impressive. The fact that you have an extra arm, it never hurts in September."

Torre and pitching coach Ron Guidry have been impressed with the life on Pavano's fastball as well as the ease with which he is throwing.

"It doesn't look like he has to muscle it or force it," Torre said. "The ball is coming out of his hand with ease and he's locating it. Batting practice and a game are two different things, but the physical aspects of how he's felt are good."

Pavano last pitched for the Yankees on June 27, 2005. He made three rehab starts in May before being shut down, but Torre appears confident that this time will be different.

"He just seems comfortable," Torre said. "I know I've said that before, but I'm not sure he's shown this kind of comfort this far along."

Giambi out: Jason Giambi was out of the lineup on Wednesday, as his bruised right elbow was still feeling the effects of being hit by a Neal Cotts pitch on Tuesday.

"It's sore and swollen. It's a little better, but it's still black and blue," Giambi said. "It hit me on a nerve, and I can't even feel my middle finger right now. There's no way I'd be able to throw."

Torre planned to use Giambi at first base on Wednesday, as he wanted to start Bernie Williams as the DH. Williams is 4-for-11 in his career against White Sox starter Jon Garland.

"It's his throwing arm, which is why I didn't put him in the lineup," Torre said. "We were going to play him at first, because I wanted to get Bernie [Williams] in there."

Both Torre and Giambi said that pinch-hitting was a possibility, and Giambi hopes to be able to start on Thursday.

"It's sore and it hurts, but in a pinch, I think I can hit," Giambi said. "I thought it was going to be a lot worse."

Throw for show: Jorge Posada threw out all three runners trying to steal second base on Tuesday, just the second time in his career that he has gone 3-for-3 in that category.

Posada's throwing has improved dramatically this season, as he is gunning down runners 36 percent (24 of 67) of the time, which is six percent above his career average.

Torre credited first base coach/catching instructor Tony Pena for Posada's improvement, as well as the team's commitment this spring to having its pitchers work on holding runners on base.

"That's what was frustrating him more than anything; he really didn't have a chance to throw anybody out," Torre said. "That was upsetting his timing, because he was rushing himself all the time."

Welcome back: Bubba Crosby, who was designated for assignment last weekend, cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Columbus.

Crosby could be back this season as an injury replacement or a September callup.

What a relief: Kyle Farnsworth threw a perfect inning on Tuesday, tying him for second in the American League with 53 appearances.

Dating back to June 28, Farnsworth has allowed one run in 16 appearances, lowering his ERA from 4.98 to 3.67 in the process.

"He just seems to have more confidence that he knows where the ball is going," Torre said. "He's able to throw more strikes."

Coming up: The Yankees and White Sox meet for the final time in 2006, as Mike Mussina takes on former teammate Javier Vazquez. First pitch is scheduled for 8:05 p.m. ET.

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