How good would Carl Pavano have been without all the injuries? That’s the question I always ask myself when I see his name or watch him pitch. The answer is: we’ll never know. Pavano became more famous for his girlfriends (see pics) than his pitching. He’s 33 and on the downside, but he’s still plugging and can be an innings eater for the rest of his career. You can’t call him more than that. The Yankees knew they were taking a chance when they signed him away from the Marlins in ’05. He had already went through plenty of injuries but we all know the Yanks don’t mind throwing a little dough around. Now, with the basement-dwelling Indians, Pavano takes the ball every fifth day but there isn’t much going on. How many more 1-year fliers can he snag? Carl Pavano joined WKNR in Cleveland to discuss working with Kelly Shoppach, the tough years as a Yankee, and battling injuries.
On why he’s had a personal catcher this year:
“I think it’s just worked about that way. With Vic (Victor Martinez) having the opportunity to play first, getting both of their bats in the lineup, I think it’s crucial. You know, let me tell you a little story about Shoppy (Kelly Shoppach). The first time that I met Kelly was when I went to spring training. I went fairly early so I could get down there and get working before spring training started – this is in the end of January. I went to Goodyear, and I needed someone to toss with, and I just had met him, and I knew he was one of our catchers so I played long toss with him. First conversation we had, now we really didn’t know each other that well, he goes to me, it’s kinda funny actually, ‘So, they tell me you’re a sinkerballer.’ After catching with me he goes, ‘That ball’s kinda straight, don’t you think?’ I go, ‘Give me some time, it’s the end of January right now, alright? I haven’t even gotten started yet.’ So even with that start right there, we got along from the get-go, we had a good laugh. But I think it’s just worked out that way, I don’t make those decisions. I didn’t go to them and ask, ‘This is who I want to work with.’ I think that’s just the way things have worked out. And we’ve worked well together so why change a good thing?
“Through my career I’ve had injuries, so it wasn’t the first time I’d had injuries, so I understood that. When you’re going through times like that, you have to be confident in yourself and know that you can come back, and I’ve come back from other surgeries and other injuries, so I knew that these things take time, but those two years were tremendously tough. I mean, that team needed me out there. I would’ve been a crucial part of our winning, and every time I took a step forward, I took three steps back. So it was frustrating, I got a lot of flack for it, but I just constantly believed in myself, constantly worked hard… It was a tough four years for me, I got a lot of abuse, but sometimes you just gotta simplify things. I learned a lot about myself, I learned how to simplify things and not try to make things so difficult because at the time physically I was hurting bad and things were tough. So I had to learn to simplify it, just to get through those times.”