Q&A with Carl Pavano

After a series of injuries limited him to just 26 starts in 4 seasons with the Yankees, Carl Pavano looked to resurrect his once promising career in Cleveland this year.  When the Tribe fell out of contention however, the 33-year-old found himself in Minnesota hoping to help the Twins cling to their fading playoff hopes.

I had an interesting conversation with the veteran righthander before Sunday’s game against the Indians:

DZ: You’ve been with the Twins for about 10 days now and you are already playing against your old team, that has to be kind of a trip.

PAVANO: Yeah, yeah. I mean that’s the one thing about baseball - the fact that you could be playing in one place and then another place the next week. It kind of makes it exciting to tell you the truth. I couldn’t be happier with the team I am with now as far as where we are in the division and how we are shaping up now.

DZ: How long does it take you to pack up and move on?

PAVANO: That’s tough; it was the toughest part. I have a girlfriend and a son, so it took us a little while. After my start in Detroit (on August 8th) I headed back to Cleveland and basically packed up the house - a lot of it was clothes, we don’t bring furniture with us. We packed a lot of it in cars and just sent it here and got settled in here. That’s the part you like to be settled with, to get peace of mind and get back into your routine - everything is kind of falling into place.

DZ: When you are with a team like Cleveland that has kind of fallen out of contention and you’re in a one-year contract, you probably realize you are going to be put on waivers (to be potentially traded). Do you know when that happens, do they inform you?

PAVANO: I never really focus on those things. I keep it as simple as possible. I don’t have control if I get put on waivers or I get traded, but I do have control over my preparation and what I do in between starts to go out there and be successful - that’s winning ball games for my team - that’s my main focus. I’ve learned over the years that you’ve got to keep everything else in between your ears and worry about pitching - that’s my job.

DZ: You have a couple of former teammates here like Mike Redmond. How well do you know him?

PAVANO: Really well. I played three years with him (in Florida) and obviously had some good times - won a World Series together (in 2003). Obviously, any time you win a World Series the relationship you have with every guy on the team is extensive. He’s caught me a lot which makes it fun to get out there and throw to him again like I did on Thursday, so it was nice.

DZ: I know from experience (Redmond’s) a character. Do you have any interesting stories you could tell us about him?

PAVANO: He’s always joking and picking up the morale of the team. He’s always in good spirits - that’s a great attitude. You see him everyday; he’s not short on conversations or short on laughs which is always refreshing to be around.

DZ: We don’t need to go into any real detail, but having all of the injuries - is there anything positive you can take away from that?

PAVANO: I think the ability to preserve through it. I definitely did have some set backs and injuries, but I have been able to get out there and, this year, be successful and to continue that is obviously my goal. You can’t ever quit, this game isn’t going to be around forever. I always put on the mindset of never leaving anything on the table; always working hard. Obviously focusing on my preparation and hard work and getting my self out there.

DZ: How much different is it playing in New York versus a small market like Cleveland or Florida or here?

PAVANO: I think the attention you get is obviously (greater). The media - there’s five (regulars) in most cities - there’s triple, quadruple that, sometimes 20, 30 (in New York). Everyone is competing for stories, which is their job so there is always a lot of things that go along with that. It’s still baseball, once you get between the lines what makes you successful is going to making you successful there or anywhere. Those things don’t change, obviously the variables around you are very different but you learn to deal with it.

DZ: One last thing: way back in your rookie year (1998) - I am sure you’ve been asked about this a million times - you gave up the 70th homerun to Mark McGwire. How did you deal with that being such a young guy at the time?

PAVANO: You know, I took it more as a experience. The thing that really burned me the worst is that I (thought) I had ended my senason. I was a starter the majority of my career and I had ended my season with a start in New York and did pretty well. We had a four game series in St. Louis, so they asked me after the third day, “Will you go in the ‘pen in case we are short guys?” and I said “Sure, no problem.” I didn’t mind. So I ended up pitching in the last game and we ended up losing the game. We actually had the lead and I gave up the tying run and then the homerun put them in the lead. I pitched like the 7th and 8th (innings), I think and we ended up losing. That was the frustrating part about it. I went into the off-season with that bad taste in my mouth. Obviously, being there that four days, that stadium was so electric - that was an experience I will always remember. Obviously I was a big part of it by giving up No. 70, (but) I don’t think it was anything that flawed my career. I never saw it as that.

DZ: Have you had a chance to talk to (McGwire) about it since then?

PAVANO: Yeah, the Expos shared spring training (facilities) with the Cardinals - now the Marlins and Cardinals do in Jupiter, FL - so I had an opportunity to talk to him. He signed the ticket and a jersey, so I have some memorabilia - we were connected in that way. He was never my teammate, but he was good about it.

See more of David Zingler’s interviews with Twins players:

July 28: Justin Morneau
July 15: Anthony Swarzak
July 10: Bobby Keppel
July 8: Denard Span

2 Responses to “Q&A with Carl Pavano”

  1. Q&A with Jason Kubel » MinnesotaSCORE Says:

    […] 16: Carl Pavano July 28: Justin Morneau July 15: Anthony Swarzak July 10: Bobby Keppel July 8: Denard Span […]

  2. Q&A with Brian Duensing » MinnesotaSCORE Says:

    […] 3: Jon Rauch August 28: Nick Punto August 27: Scott Baker August 18: Jason Kubel August 16: Carl Pavano July 28: Justin Morneau July 15: Anthony Swarzak July 10: Bobby Keppel July 8: Denard Span […]

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