NEW YORK - Kevin Brown had successful surgery on his broken left hand Sunday and vowed to pitch again for the New York Yankees this season.
“I don’t know how much you want to know. I’ve pitched in more pain than I have right now,” he said sternly.
The right-hander is still expected to miss at least three weeks after breaking two bones in his non-pitching hand when he punched a wall in the clubhouse Friday night, an immature act of frustration that could cost his team dearly.
Brown had two pins placed in his hand at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center on Sunday morning. With a large bandage wrapped around his hand, he was back at Yankee Stadium answering questions from reporters an hour before New York played the Baltimore Orioles.
A contrite Brown apologized to his teammates personally, and offered an apology to the entire organization and Yankees fans for leaving the club short-handed in the middle of a tight pennant race.
“They all deserve one,” he said. “I made a mistake of letting my emotions take over. If there was any way in the world I could take it back, I would. ... It’s my fault. I take the blame. I don’t expect anybody to understand.”
When asked what made him throw a left at the wall instead of a right, Brown said: “Years of experience.”
The 39-year-old Brown said the same intensity that made him lose his temper has driven him to succeed throughout his big league career. He said he’ll return to the mound as soon his doctor allows, but there was no doubt in his mind it will be this season.
That might mean during the playoffs, assuming the Yankees make it, though it’s still possible Brown could be out for the rest of the season.
“Different time frames have been thrown around, nothing’s for sure,” he said. “As fast as possible.”
If Brown (10-4) does make it back this year, manager Joe Torre is sure he can tolerate the pain he might have to pitch with.
“That’s not an issue, believe me. If it was up to him, he’d be out there without a Band-Aid on Wednesday, and hope for Jorgie (Posada) to throw the ball hard back to him,” Torre said.
Regardless of when he returns, Brown could be fined or disciplined by the Yankees.
“We’ll review our rights and see what rights we have and make a determination at some point,” general manager Brian Cashman said.
The Yankees didn’t hide their anger at Brown over the way he hurt himself. Torre and Cashman have been visibly annoyed by it since Friday night. Alex Rodriguez and Posada have declined to share their thoughts about what the pitcher did.
“Whatever actions they take, I’ll handle it and I’ll understand the team’s position,” Brown said.
After Brown addressed the team, reliever Tom Gordon gave him credit for apologizing.
“That’s respectful. We all make mistakes. I don’t blame the guy,” Gordon said. “He didn’t have to do what he did. It was a class act. I love the guy.”
Already short on starting pitching, the Yankees plan to call up left-hander Brad Halsey from Triple-A Columbus to start in Brown’s place Wednesday night against Tampa Bay. Halsey went 1-2 with a 7.23 ERA in four starts with New York earlier this season.
The Yankees beat Baltimore 4-3 Sunday and lead the AL East by just 2½ games over Boston. They were up by a season-high 10½ games on Aug. 15.
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