TAMPA, Fla. -- Carl Pavano addressed his recent abrupt departure from the Yankees, saying on Sunday that he had to attend to a personal matter involving his girlfriend, 22-year-old Gia Allemand.
Pavano had been scheduled to start Friday's game against the Devil Rays, but left Legends Field less than an hour before first pitch after being informed of a "severe medical condition" involving Allemand, which Pavano didn't comment on.
"It was definitely weighing on me," Pavano said. "There was definitely a little bit of struggle about me wanting to pitch. I needed a voice of reason because my head was going in both directions. Sometimes there's things you've got to take care or that take precedent over the situation at hand."
Pavano said that Allemand was "doing well" following the unspecified issue. He said he was grateful to manager Joe Torre, pitching coach Ron Guidry and general manager Brian Cashman, who cleared Pavano to leave Legends Field on Friday.
Because of Pavano's injury-checkered history with the Yankees -- he has not appeared in a Major League game since June 27, 2005 -- the 31-year-old right-hander said he wrestled with the decision to leave what would have been his second start of the spring.
"My mind was playing games with me a little bit," Pavano said. "Joe's a voice of reason. Joe is a wiser man than I am. He made the right decision."
Pavano said that Allemand's situation will not be an ongoing distraction. Torre has said that Pavano's absence from the club was a one-day matter, and that any further attention Pavano needs to pay to it will have to be done on his personal time.
Pavano also said his involvement in a pending civil lawsuit relating to an August 2006 automobile accident is not a concern. A report surfaced last week that Pavano and the Yankees had been sued by Ernest DeLaura, 47, of Port St. Lucie, Fla., for monetary compensation relating to injuries allegedly incurred in the collision.
"It's not the first time I've had issues or things going on," Pavano said. "As much as baseball is a part of my life, there's another part of my life where things aren't always perfect. I don't think it's going to be on my shoulders at all."
Pavano is now slated to start on Monday against the Red Sox in Fort Myers, Fla., an event he said he was looking forward to. Pavano had long-tossed in the outfield in preparation for Friday's appearance and threw a 10-minute bullpen session on Saturday with catcher Todd Pratt.
"It's going to be nice," Pavano said. "It's always nice to get out there every fifth day, especially over the course of the last two years. Just to be able to be healthy and to have that team behind me and be able to go work on things -- I think that's nice."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.