Pavano, Yanks open set against Twins

Pavano, Yankees open series in Minnesota

Every Yankee starter has now had his chance, and not one has been able crack the elusive sixth inning in New York. And while the offense has kept the team somewhat afloat, the fleeting outings are creating early troubles for the bullpen -- so much so that starter Andy Pettitte was forced into relief duty in a 6-4 loss to Baltimore on Sunday.

So now it's time to try again. Carl Pavano will get his second shot at reversing the trend on Monday, when the team opens a three-game set in Minnesota.

"We all expect more of ourselves, and obviously, taxing the bullpen like that doesn't do anybody any good," Pavano said. "It's early, but it's something definitely that we need to focus on."

Pavano will be trying to right a Yankees team that lost three of the past four in freezing New York temperatures. The right-hander struggled in his brief Opening Day start -- ultimately taking a no-decision in a 9-5 Yankees win -- but has not pitched since then. He will take the mound on an extra two days' rest, in the inviting warmth of the Metrodome.

"He'll probably be a little more comfortable," manager Joe Torre said. "I thought he ran out of gas, and maybe part of that was anxiety because he hadn't been out there competing in a long time. I'm curious, and I'm looking forward to his start."

Pavano will oppose former Yankee Sidney Ponson, who will be debuting with his fourth team in the past three years. Ponson is making his first start of the season after posting a combined 4-5 record and 6.25 ERA with both the Yankees and Cardinals last year.

Pitching matchup
NYY: RHP Carl Pavano (0-0, 8.31 ERA)
Pavano struggled through Opening Day while his defense struggled behind him, as he allowed five runs -- four earned -- in just 4 1/3 innings. The former National Leaguer has never faced Minnesota in his 10-year Major League career.

MIN: RHP Sidney Ponson (4-5, 6.25 ERA in 2006)
Ponson has started 26 career games against the Yankees, his most against any team. The right-hander holds a 6-12 lifetime record against New York, with a 4.63 ERA. He hasn't faced the Bombers since 2005, however, when he was 1-0 against them in two starts with Baltimore.

Player to watch
Few Twins have much history against Pavano other than Luis Castillo. The speedy second baseman has just six hits in 23 career at-bats against the right-hander, but he has also swiped four bases off his former Marlins teammate. Castillo is off to a hot start this season, batting .381 through the season's first week.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television

On radio
• WCBS-AM 880 AM, WZAA-FM 92.3 FM (Spanish)

Up next
• Tuesday: Yankees (LHP Andy Pettitte, 0-0, 3.60) at Twins (RHP Boof Bonser, 0-0, 3.00), 8:10 p.m. ET
• Wednesday: Yankees (RHP Mike Mussina, 0-1, 13.50) at Twins (RHP Ramon Ortiz, 1-0, 2.57), 8:10 p.m. ET
• Thursday: Off-day

Anthony DiComo is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.