Spring Training Notebook

Yankees' Pavano Is Sued by Man Hurt in Crash

Associated Press
Saturday, March 10, 2007

A Florida man involved last year in an accident with a Porsche driven by oft-injured Carl Pavano has sued the New York Yankees pitcher for injuries allegedly suffered in the crash, which the player initially tried to hide from the team.

Ernest DeLaura, 47, also named the Yankees as a defendant when he filed the lawsuit two months ago in Bronx state Supreme Court. Although the suit was brought in New York, DeLaura lives in Port St. Lucie, Fla., and the accident occurred in West Palm Beach, Fla.

DeLaura sought an unspecified amount of money in the lawsuit, which requested a default judgment of $5 million if Pavano and the Yankees failed to answer the complaint. DeLaura has already undergone shoulder surgery and faces a possible operation on his neck, said his attorney, Paul Edelman.

The lawsuit charged that Pavano was "careless, reckless and negligent" while driving his 2006 Porsche last Aug. 15. Pavano, who hasn't pitched in the major leagues since June 27, 2005, because of assorted ailments, was pitching in the minor leagues as he prepared for a return to the Yankees when the accident occurred.

Pavano didn't initially tell the Yankees about the accident, and made three rehabilitation starts before seeking medical attention and discovering that he suffered two broken ribs in the crash. Pavano, who is now back with the Yankees, is in the third year of a four-year, $39.95 million contract.

· ASTROS 9, BLUE JAYS 7: Hunter Pence, who entered spring training as a long shot to win playing time in right field for Houston, had three hits and scored twice in Dunedin, Fla.

A second-round pick in the 2004 draft, Pence finished 3 for 5 with a double and an RBI. He is batting .722 in spring training.

"It's a pleasant dilemma to be in," Astros Manager Phil Garner said.

Frank Thomas made his first spring training start for the Blue Jays and went 1 for 2 with a walk.

· BRAVES 8, PIRATES 5: Chuck James, an 11-game winner as an Atlanta rookie last season, pitched three scoreless innings and Kelly Johnson hit a broken-bat home run that led the Braves to a victory in a split squad game in Bradenton, Fla.

Johnson's wind-aided drive during a three-run sixth inning came against Masumi Kuwata, the longtime Japanese star who, at age 38, is trying to achieve a lifelong goal of pitching in the majors. Kuwata never saw this in 21 Japanese seasons -- a batter break his bat on a ball that left the ballpark.

"I saw the broken bat and, I said, 'Okay, pop fly,' and it's gone," Kuwata said. "Does he have power?"

· TIGERS 9, METS 5: Kenny Rogers gave up a two-run homer to Carlos Beltran in the first inning, then settled down and pitched Detroit to victory in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Rogers, who led Detroit to the World Series last year, allowed five hits in four innings while striking out two. The 42-year-old left-hander was happy with his two-seam fastball and said his four-seamer got better as the day went on.

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