Twins righthander Carl Pavano

Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune file

Pavano takes lumps, moves on

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN
  • Star Tribune
  • April 6, 2011 - 12:36 AM

NEW YORK - Twins manager Ron Gardenhire approached Carl Pavano's locker Tuesday, holding a small packet of cigars.

Pavano had left them on Gardenhire's desk, knowing how much his skipper likes the occasional stogie.

"These are really nice," Gardenhire said. "How much did you pay for them?"

Pavano shrugged and said, "40 or 50."

"Wow, that's higher than your ERA," Gardenhire said.

Both of them laughed at the zinger. They bumped fists, and Gardenhire went on his way.

After a rough Opening Day start in Toronto, Pavano will lug a 15.75 ERA to the mound Wednesday in front of the jeering masses at Yankee Stadium. It will be just his second start in the Bronx since he left the Yankees, with the other coming for Cleveland on April 19, 2009.

Pavano has made two solid starts against the Yankees in the postseason, both in Minnesota. He was ridiculed inside and outside the Yankees clubhouse during his injury-filled tenure with the team, but there is no mistaking his comfort level with the Twins.

Pavano blamed himself for the Twins' 13-3 loss on Opening Day, even though the Twins looked discombobulated defensively in the first inning. He gave up eight runs (seven earned) on six hits and two walks over four innings.

"I wasn't able to make any good pitches," Pavano said. "I was up in the zone and inconsistent with everything. They made me pay."

Advice for Mauer: Bunt

Gardenhire said Joe Mauer could have bunted against the Blue Jays last weekend to foil the dramatic defensive shift they were playing against him.

Third baseman Edwin Encarnacion was playing way back and several feet off the line.

"I think he got a little gun-shy, took a lot of heat over dropping a bunt down [July 20 against Cleveland], but that's part of his game, too," Gardenhire said.

"He's a good bunter; just bunt toward the line. That's a great way to start out the inning."

Nishioka's learning curve

Gardenhire continues to preach patience with second baseman Tsuyoshi Nishioka.

"He just hasn't played over here, so we just have to give him time," Gardenhire said. "Everybody has seen most of these pitchers, so this is not going to be, all of a sudden, after 10 games, he's good.

"Right now you can see that he really, really wants to do well. He really feels bad when it doesn't go great for him. He kind of takes the whole world upon his shoulders, and we want to get him away from that and give him the time he needs."

Viewers missing games

Fox Sports North is televising 150 Twins game this season, at least 34 more than in any previous year, but subscribers to Charter Communications, Mediacom, Cable One and Dish Network are slated to see only 105 of those games.

FSN communications manager Becky Ross said about 37 percent of the homes in the region were affected.

In a statement she said, "negotiations are ongoing," adding, "customers may wish to contact their cable provider to request these additional games."

Star Tribune staff writer Neal Justin contributed to this report.

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