I guess the old “I strained something defending myself from verbal abuse” excuse only worked for so long. From the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner.

Just as he was closing in on returning to the Yankees after a 14-month absence, Carl Pavano (above) told club officials last weekend that he had been in a car accident in West Palm Beach, Fla., on the morning of Aug. 15. Pavano said the accident caused pain in his ribs, and tests yesterday showed that two ribs are fractured.

œOf course I™m angry, said General Manager Brian Cashman, who did not rule out fining Pavano.

œI™m trying to get a clearer picture of what we™re dealing with, Cashman said, referring to Pavano™s version of the accident. œIt™s kind of premature.

The Yankees owe Pavano roughly $20 million over the next two seasons, a hefty price for a pitcher whose desire has been questioned by teammates. By failing to report the injury when it happened, Pavano could be in violation of the terms of his contract and may give the Yankees an opening to void some or all of the deal.

Note to all accident-prone / ethically challenged pitchers considering signing with the Yankees in the future ; insist on removing any clause that require you to a) report such incidents, b) tell the truth and c ) pitch in the major leagues.