New York Yankees backers woke to bad news this morning when they discovered Carl Pavano would not make his scheduled start against the Oakland Athletics tonight.
Pavano is suffering from soreness in his right forearm, with most of the pain concentrated just below his elbow. The Yankees insist it’s not serious and hope Pavano can start Tuesday against the Cleveland Indians in New York.
“I threw on Wednesday, but (my arm) didn’t feel like I thought it should feel,” Pavano told the New York Times. “I want to be out there every fifth day. But I think the wiser course of action is the way to do it.”
With Pavano sidelined the Yankees will give the ball to Darrell Rasner. The 26-year-old right-hander has little major league experience. He was lit up by the Baltimore Orioles in his only start this season, allowing eight hits and five earned runs in 4 1/3 innings as the Yankees lost 6-4 as -137 favorites.
“(Rasner is) your typical ‘Lots of potential but will he ever make it?’ type of guy. He struggled badly in his first start against Baltimore and the A's bats showed some pop lately so this is not a good recipe for success,” said professional handicapper Scott Rickenbach.
Complicating matters, Rasner is battling injury problems of his own. He was bothered by a blister on his right index finger when he faced the Orioles and, even though he told Newsday the injury is “almost completely healed,” Rickenbach isn’t so sure Rasner is healthy.
“(The blister on his finger) especially affected his command of his breaking pitches (against Baltimore),” Rickenbach said. “So I would certainly stay away from him until it's known if he's responded to current treatments he's receiving to try and toughen the skin.”
Rickenbach also pointed out that a big reason Rasner won a starter’s job in spring training is because a pair of more qualified pitchers began the season on the disabled list.
Rickenbach says had Chien-Ming Wang and Jeff Karstens been healthy Rasner wouldn’t be in position to start tonight’s game.
“I generally stay away from games like this because I hate to get involved in a game where there is a question mark as to an injury situation,” Rickenbach said. “In this case the status of the blister on Rasner’s pitching hand is a real issue. If it's better he could excel tonight. But if it's still bothering him, or if it flares up during the start, it could be another rough outing.”
The Yankees are listed as -130 road favorites for tonight’s game, while the total is set at 9 ½.