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Carl Pavano is the Twins' last hope

Right-hander took a lot of abuse during his injury-filled years with Yankees.

October 11, 2009|Associated Press

Carl Pavano called those four injury-riddled, tension-filled seasons in New York a "black period" in his career.

Considering the size of his contract and his complete lack of production, Pavano in pinstripes became one of the biggest free-agent busts in baseball history.

The right-hander has started to correct that wrong turn this year with a decent performance for Cleveland and Minnesota, finding himself in the playoffs with an opportunity to further frustrate the Yankees -- if he can win Game 3 for the Twins today at the Metrodome.

"I can't ask for much more than that," said Pavano, who was acquired by Minnesota in August. "When I look back on it, obviously things could have been a lot different, but it didn't work out that way. But I feel like I am getting back to where I was before all those problems."

Down 2-0 in the best-of-five division series after a devastating 11-inning defeat at Yankee Stadium on Friday, the Twins are in yet another must-win situation after spending the stretch drive in that pressurized mode.

In two months, Pavano has had no problem fitting in with the Twins.

"We're just a Minnesota-nice group, and we like the hell out of the guy," Manager Ron Gardenhire said, chuckling at the trashing Pavano took in the city tabloids and by the New York fans through the duration of the $39.95-million, four-year deal.

Pavano won only nine games and made 26 starts in that stretch. This season, he was 14-12 over 33 starts for the Indians and Twins.


The Twins are on an eight-game postseason losing streak, and they have lost seven playoff games in a row in their quirky Metrodome.

The Yankees are loose, but they're wary of letting up against a Twins team that put 21 runners on base Friday night and has been playing with desperation since early September.

"You don't really want to let them get their foot in the door," Manager Joe Girardi said.

The Twins have taken third baseman Matt Tolbert off their division series roster because of a strained muscle in his side.

Brendan Harris will start at third base in Game 3 and Tolbert will be replaced on the roster by Brian Buscher, who hit .235 in 61 games this season.

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