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Yanks ask Pavano to go on minor league roster

NEW YORK -- Carl Pavano was asked by the New York Yankees to
accept a minor league contract and come off their big league
roster.

A $39.95 million bust since signing with the Yankees as a free
agent before the 2005 season, Pavano had rotator cuff surgery June
5. New York is not counting on him to be available next year.

"Right now we're just having preliminary conversations,"
Pavano's new agent, Tom O'Connell, said Tuesday. "Carl is
contemplating possibly accepting a minor league contract if they
choose to release him. At this point, neither the Yankees or Carl
have come to any decisions."

Hampered by shoulder, back, elbow and rib injuries, Pavano went
5-6 in 19 starts with the Yankees, including 1-0 with a 4.76 ERA in
two starts this year.

"He's having solid success right now with his rehab,"
O'Connell said. "I'd say there is realistic possibility he could
be back on a major league mound by sometime middle of the summer."

O'Connell said a minor league deal could be harmful.

"You're giving up your major league rights under the collective
bargaining agreement if you sign a minor league contract," he
said. "There's a lot of advantages from being on a major league
roster as opposed to being on a minor league roster."

New York has a crunch for spaces on its 40-man roster. First
baseman Andy Phillips refused a minor league assignment and became
a free agent, and outfielder Bronson Sardinha was designated for
assignment. Their spots were taken by backup catcher Jose Molina
and pitcher Andy Pettitte.

Alex Rodriguez, Mariano Rivera and LaTroy Hawkins have agreed to
deals that have yet to be finalized.

Pavano is owed $12.95 million -- $11 million next year and a
$1.95 million buyout of the team's 2009 option.