<
>

Wang, Chacon in rotation; Pavano shut down

PHOENIX -- Yankees manager Joe Torre picked Chien-Ming Wang and Shawn Chacon for the third and fourth spots in New York's rotation Friday, leaving Jaret Wright as the fifth starter and long reliever.

The Yankees also shut down right-hander Carl Pavano, who already had been scheduled to begin the season on the disabled list because of a back injury. Pavano bruised his left buttocks diving for first base while making a play in a minor league game on Tuesday.

An MRI in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday was negative, Torre said, but "he's got some pain and he's going to be shut down until that pain disappears."

General manager Brian Cashman said he watched Pavano pitch an inning Thursday.

"I could see it was bothering him so it doesn't make sense to push it," Cashman said. "Hopefully, it's no more than a small episode."

Pavano's tentatively scheduled appearance in a minor-league game Sunday was canceled, and there was no word on when he would resume throwing.

Meanwhile, Torre said there were several reasons Wang and Chacon earned the spots ahead of Wright.

"Last year, Wang and Chacon, they were our bread and butter, along with Smalley [Aaron Small]. If we don't have them, we don't go anywhere," Torre said. "They pitched well last year and they didn't do anything to change your mind this year."

He said that Wang and Chacon, as "touch pitchers -- fastball, changeup," weren't as suited for long relief as the hard-throwing Wright. Because of off days, the Yankees won't need a fifth starter until mid-April.

"Jaret's been great as far as respecting people's decisions," Torre said. "That doesn't mean you have to like it. You have to go along with it, but he's not going to fight that that's the way it is. He's very professional. We're trying to keep him informed about when he's pitching, but as the long man it's tough to do."

Randy Johnson will pitch the season opener Monday in Oakland, with Mike Mussina the No. 2 starter.

The rotation will change once Pavano returns, probably not until the end of April at the earliest. Even before then, Torre said he could make some changes based on performance.

"If people are struggling, then you sort of rearrange the furniture a little bit," Torre said. "We have all capable people here, so we're going to try to go with the hot hand as best we can."

Scott Proctor, a right-handed reliever who split last season between the Yankees and Triple-A Columbus, was home with his wife and their seriously ill infant daughter, Cashman said.

Proctor will stay with his family as long as necessary, and no decision has been made on whether to replace him temporarily on the roster.