Pavano thrown off routine

Awkward day takes Pavano out of his routine

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- As Andy Pettitte retired a succession of Phillies on Saturday afternoon, Carl Pavano was killing time behind Bright House Networks Field, trying to wait until the sixth inning when his turn rolled around.

Pavano said that Rob Thomson, the Yankees' Major League field coordinator, had to continuously send text messages across to the dugout to find out when the 31-year-old right-hander should begin warming up for a scheduled four-inning relief stint.

"It was an awkward day," Pavano said. "I was away from my routine, but I don't think it affected me that much. I just felt a little rushed."

Slated to pitch behind Pettitte, Pavano entered the Yankees' eventual 3-2 loss with a tough act to follow. Pettitte shook off early command problems and swirling, cool winds to retire the final 13 Phillies he faced, handing a one-run lead over to Pavano.

As Pavano attempts to return to normalcy following a 1 1/2-year layoff, even his smallest steps are considered progress, though nothing seems to come without one quirk or another.

Pavano allowed three runs (two earned) in three innings, scattering four hits while walking two and striking out one. The line was misleading.

Saying that he "definitely felt a little funky out there," Pavano was impacted by Andy Phillips -- playing out of position at third base to garner extra at-bats -- on a muff of Carlos Ruiz's grounder in the sixth inning, leading to Philadelphia's first run.

In the seventh, a two-run Aaron Rowand single was originally ruled an error, but the official scorer changed it to a single after the game.

Yankees manager Joe Torre acknowledged that each time Pavano competes and emerges healthy, it's worthy of a larger spotlight than an average hurler just based upon his recent history.

"He hasn't done this for a couple of years," Torre said. "I think he's got to get a feel for it again. It's something he's done for a number of years, but he hasn't done it recently. This game has a way of reminding you."

With the game having ended, but the Yankees looking to raise Pavano's pitch count above 65, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel agreed to unofficially have his club bat in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Before a scattered crowd of confused onlookers, Pavano faced three batters, striking out former Yankee Karim Garcia before hitting Brennan King.

Center fielder Kevin Thompson dropped what would have been the second out of the inning, a fly ball by Ron Calloway, at which point the Yankees walked off the field and allowed the Phillies -- finally -- to shake hands and shower.

Torre said the outing was satisfactory for Pavano's third appearance.

"He looked fine," Torre said. "He just might be a little flat right now. [Pavano had] no complaints. He felt all right, and I thought he did all right."

Coming off a three-inning start against the Red Sox in Fort Myers, and pitching on the normal fifth day, Pavano reported good fatigue following Saturday's effort.

"It's probably the first time when my body felt a little dead and I had to work a little harder, which I think is good, because that's just part of Spring Training," Pavano said.

Pavano's Spring Training has been interrupted twice -- first by a batting practice line drive that bruised his left foot and a serious medical issue involving his girlfriend, Gia Allemand, that excused him from a start against the Rays. He now appears to be gaining some rhythm.

"I actually feel my body breaking down and getting stronger," Pavano said.

Pavano said that his next bullpen session and the following scheduled start, which Torre said would be Thursday on the road against the Reds, would be important in continuing to gather steam for the regular season.

"This time of year, you want to build from activity and go [with] more activity," Pavano said. "The next bullpen and start are going to be the progression that I missed. ... You've just got to hit your checkpoints."

Torre said Pavano is slightly trailing the other Yankees starters because of the two incidents, but that he could make up that ground quickly. Next week would be the time to do it.

"I think there's always something we're going to look for to be a little better," Torre said. "When it's time to break camp, the whole package has to be there. It's a step forward."

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