TORONTO — TORONTO -- A leftover Fourth of July blockbuster exploded in the New York Yankees' lap yesterday when Greg Vaughn failed his physical because of a torn right rotator cuff and the trade with the San Diego Padres for Kenny Rogers and Mariano Duncan was rescinded.
Vaughn traveled to New York yesterday to meet with Yankees physicians, led by Dr. Stuart Hershon, who determined he was unfit to pass the guidelines established by the club.
The Yankees wouldn't divulge why Vaughn failed the physical. "I can't go into those details because the man is not our property," general manager Bob Watson said. However, a league source confirmed Vaughn's torn rotator cuff.
Whatever the problem, the deal is dead, with Yankees owner George Steinbrenner weighing in from Columbus, Ohio, that the club was "not going to take a wounded soldier at $12 million or whatever it is."
Padres president Larry Lucchino yesterday offered to send Vaughn to a mutually agreed upon second doctor for another opinion, but Steinbrenner declined.
The announcement came during the fourth inning of the Yankees' late-afternoon victory over the Blue Jays, although the players were informed just before the first pitch.
"It's kind of strange obviously when you say goodbye and then say hello, but New York is all about distractions," manager Joe Torre said. "It's kind of laughable."
Vaughn has undergone three right shoulder operations in the past six years, most recently after the 1994 season. He hit 41 home runs last year with Milwaukee and the Padres and had 10 homers in part-time duty in San Diego this year.
"I know both [Rogers and Vaughn] have had rotator-cuff surgery," Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. "As far as our medical staff is concerned, Greg Vaughn is healthy."
Bochy said he didn't know Vaughn was hurting.
"Never. He was playing left field and he was fine. I don't know what they found or what the situation is," Bochy said.
The discovery of Vaughn's shoulder woes saved the Yankees the embarrassment they endured last season when they were dealt damaged goods in Graeme Lloyd and Pat Listach from the Brewers.
Neither of those players was administered a physical before that deal was consummated. Friday's trade was contingent on Vaughn and Rogers passing their physicals.
While Vaughn returned to San Diego yesterday, Rogers jetted back to New York after a meaningless trip across the country. Duncan was at his Florida home "on a two-day vacation," as Torre put it, and will be asked to return to the team today. However, the duo returns amid a chaotic atmosphere that included clubhouse-wide sentiments the past two days that Rogers and Duncan were better suited moving on.
"This is something we did not anticipate," said Watson, who insisted the Yankees did not believe Vaughn's physical condition would be an issue. "Hopefully the two particulars from our club will be able to step up, rejoin their teammates and be effective."
By ridding themselves of Duncan and Rogers, the Yankees had cleared the field for Vaughn and Hideki Irabu.
Now, the Yankees will spend the three-day All-Star break trying to seal another deal that will remove Duncan and/or Rogers from the roster. The Padres might substitute Vaughn with ex-Yankee Rickey Henderson, whom the Yankees initially courted until members of the organization nixed the idea.
Pub Date: 7/06/97