Pavano will get fourth opinion on elbow

Pavano will get fourth opinion on elbow

NEW YORK -- The fate of Carl Pavano's 2007 season appears to be hinging on a fourth medical diagnosis, as the Yankees will send the right-hander to the West Coast for more reviews on his ailing pitching elbow.

Pavano, 31, expressed confusion regarding his continuing travel plans following the Yankees' 3-2 loss to the Mariners on Monday.

Pavano said that he has been told by three doctors that his elbow has damage that could require Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery. The Yankees have requested that Pavano fly to Los Angeles to meet with Dr. Lewis Yocum, the team physician for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, for yet another review of his situation.

"Lucky No. 4? I have no idea," Pavano said. "I want to do what's right, and I've got three professionals telling me what's right. I guess I'll see the best doctors in the business -- all of them."

Before the game, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman declined to state if Pavano was facing a surgical procedure, except to say that the team is pulling out every opportunity to garner as many various opinions as possible regarding Pavano's health.

"Clearly, I want to make sure that we have a really accurate reading on all this," Cashman said. "We've got all the best doctors we're trying to pull in."

Pavano has not pitched since April 9, when he turned in seven innings to defeat the Twins in Minnesota. After that start, Pavano complained of tightness in his right forearm, and a series of attempts to get the hurler back on the mound showed some promise before ultimately ending with recurring discomfort.

Pavano has been examined by Yankees team physician Dr. Stuart Hershon, and over the weekend, he saw renowned orthopedic specialist Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla.

According to Pavano, Andrews found damage to a ligament in the pitching elbow, while Pavano reported that another physician, Dr. David Altchek, found a tear in the elbow. The end result of the diagnoses, Pavano said, is that he may eventually need Tommy John surgery.

That procedure would likely remove Pavano from competition for 12 to 18 months. Pavano is in the third year of a four-year, $39.95 million contract with the Yankees, which means that Tommy John surgery could effectively end his chances of pitching for the Yankees again.

"That's the surgery they're talking about," Pavano said. "You think I'm fighting to have that done? One of them says there's a tear in there, and Andrews sees films. ... I don't know why I'm going to a fourth doctor. I don't understand it."

The Yankees have garnered little from their large investment in Pavano, yielding just 19 starts and a total of five victories. He said that he was not eager to have the procedure performed to put it behind him, but his options appear limited.

"I would not like to have the surgery," Pavano said. "But I have professionals and that's what they do -- they make these decisions. That's the decision that they think is going to make my elbow better, and that's what I think I need to do."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.