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Pavano will likely start Opening Day

In a truly terrifying turn of events, it appears that Carl Pavano will likely be the Opening Day starter -- replacing Wang as a result of the hamstring tear he suffered on Friday.

It will be interesting to hear the crowd reaction when Bob Sheppard announces the lineup during the pre-game festivities.  Most Yankee fans tend to give everyone a break on the first day, but I have a feeling Pavano will hear just as many boos as cheers at that moment.

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees learned Saturday that their Opening Day starter won't be Chien-Ming Wang, who will miss most of the season's first month with a Grade 1 strain of his right hamstring.

Because of the way the rotation aligns for the season opener, it won't be Andy Pettitte or Mike Mussina, either. Manager Joe Torre said that the Yankees will select from a group including Carl Pavano, Kei Igawa and Jeff Karstens to throw the season's first pitch on April 2.

Of those three -- unbelievable as it might seem -- Pavano has become the likely favorite.

The 31-year-old right-hander has missed the last 1 1/2 Major League seasons due to a variety of injuries, but he is the most experienced of the hurlers left standing to accept the assignment.

Hat tip to ReLaunch for putting the hex on this team last week with his diary.