Saturday, January 31, 2009

12 Days Until Pitchers and Catchers

Friday, January 30, 2009

Bruney Signs Up

Per Peter Abraham, the Yankees have no arbitration hearings this year, because Brian Bruney has agreed to terms on a 1 year deal. Bruney was the lone remaining Yankee that was arbitration eligible.

Varitek Remains in Beantown and other TGIF Hot Stove News

Jon Heyman is reporting that Jason Varitek has agreed to a new 2 year deal to remain with the Red Sox. The team captain had hoped to get a deal similar to the one Jorge Posada signed prior to the 2008 season, but Varitek's offense scraping the bottom of the barrel this past season.
The deal is worth $5 million for this year, with an option for 2010 in which Boston can accept at $5 million or Varitek can at $3 million. The contract also includes $2 million in performance bonuses for the 2010 season.
The Orioles and Cubs seem to constantly be talking trade, usually concerning Brian Roberts. They did swing the ho-hum Felix Pie-Garrett Olson deal, and now are talking about a deal involving Cubs left-hander Rich Hill.

The Mariners have signed veteran DH Mike Sweeney to a minor league deal. The one time sweet hitter is perennially injured and has averaged only 58 games a year over the last 3 seasons. The Mariners have also reportedly been talking to Bobby Abreu.

The Rangers will be without the services of Joaquin Benoit for at least half of the 2009 season after the reliever underwent surgery for a torn rotator cuff.

New Stadium Photos

Some great new photos of the new Stadium over at Diamond Hoggers. The new right field scoreboard immediately made us think of Don Larsen's perfect game.

























Larry King to Pitch Softballs to Joe Torre

No one asks less ground breaking questions than Larry King ("so, Osama Bin Laden, this is your first public interview. What do you like for breakfast?"), but he'll be serving them up to Joe Torre tonight. This will be Torre's first official interview since the news of the "The Yankee Years" came out.
"It's a terrific book," King said. "It's an extraordinary book. Even though it's written in the third person, it obviously is the thoughts of Joe, or why would he have approved it? It's a fascinating look at the Yankees and those years."

"Even though I'm not a close friend of his, I feel a strong attachment to him," King said. "My hope is that when it comes out, fans will know him better. They'll know him better, and the Yankees better."
Yeah okay, Larry. Wonder if he'll have on pinstriped braces (suspenders).

13 Days until Pitchers and Catchers

Can I Get Someone To Testify?

Subpoena is the word of the day as witnesses are being called to testify in cases/investigations against Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.

Former big league catcher Bobby Estellela is expected to implicate Bonds when he takes the stand in Bonds' perjury trial in March. Mark Fainaru-Wada (who villified Bonds in "Game of Shadows") and T.J. Quinn have reported for ESPN that Estellela admitted to using the "clear" and "cream" provided by Greg Anderson, in BALCO testimony leaked backed in 2001. Estellela, who was also mentioned in the Mitchell report, was Bonds' teammate in San Francisco in 2000-2001 (and ironically had a short stint with Clemens and the Yankees in the latter part of '01).

Jason and Jeremy Giambi are also expected to be called to the stand.


The Clemens case continues as well with former Yankee and Met pitcher (and local product), C.J. Nitkowski being questioned. Nitkowski wasn't a teammate of Clemens, but did train with the Rocket and Andy Pettitte under the auspices of Brian McNamee.

Coney Could Write a Book

We've heard various stories about David Cone's antics (typical clubhouse stuff) as a member of the Yankees and Mets, and he clearly could write a much more inflammatory book than Joe Torre ever could. But it's probably not in Coney's character to do so. He is quoted in Torre's book, "The Yankee Years", about steroids and drug usage in the Yankees clubhouse.

Coney says the players had a good idea of who was juicing, especially those who interacted with Brian McNamee. Coney had nothing personal against McNamee, but didn't like the free reign McNamee had in the clubhouse without having been properly checked out.
"They were on his program, guys like Roger, Andy and maybe (Mike) Stanton," the book quotes Cone as saying. He says he thought McNamee "had some GNC stuff he was putting in shakes, maybe creatine or Andro or whatever you can get over the counter."

"I didn't like McNamee," Cone said in the book. "Not that he was a bad guy. I never thought he was properly vetted."
McNamee had this to add..
"Some guys were open about it, some guys weren't," he was quoted as saying. "And you wouldn't believe the s--- they were taking. I mean, it was like horse--- and crap. Like they didn't know the toxicity levels. They were taking Ritalin, oral steroids. ... They were taking stuff that was bad for them. And then they're going out all night because they've got amphetamines in them, and they're drinking ..."
Clemens also used to tell guys to go see McNamee rather than the Yankees fitness guru, Jeff Mangold. The Rocket really is/was a douchebag.


Source: Michael O'Keefe and Andy Martino, NY Daily News

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Mars Attacks

The new Yankee Stadium is either under invasion from outer space or they're testing out the new digs' lighting. (thanks for the heads up from Pete Abe).

Here's the complete gallery of photos taken by WCBS chopper dude, Tom Kaminski.

Clemens Excerpt - Read with Caution

You might possibly want a barf bag handy before you read this excerpt from Joe Torre's book, "The Yankee Years". (tip of the hat to FanIQ for this one).

Roger Clemens would come out of an extremely hot whirlpool, that in the words of assistant trainer Steve Donahue, he looked like a lobster. And then....(brace yourself)...
Then Donahue would rub the hottest possible liniment on his testicles.

“He’d start snorting like a bull,” the trainer said. “That’s when he was ready to pitch.”

Head between your legs, take nice slow deep breaths and the nausea will subside.

More Reactions to the Yankee Years

Graig Nettles knows what is like to write a tell-all book. His 1984 book, "Balls" told some of the inner workings of the Yankees organization. That combined with some shots he took at George Steinbrenner resulted in a trade to the San Diego Padres. It worked out in the end for Nettles, who along with Goose Gossage, went to the World Series that year against the Tigers. (Personally, we were pissed when he got dealt.)

Nettles defended Torre's right to write the book
.

"All I've read is excerpts, so it's really not fair to comment," Nettles said in a phone interview. "But just from the excerpts, it doesn't seem to be anything scandalous.

"I think he has every right to write the book, and I know Joe well enough to know that he wouldn't make any scandalous accusations of anybody. . . . I would bet a lot of money on the fact that Joe did it with some dignity."

Nettles said he wrote a book "for the money and the fun of doing the book."

"I know I didn't tell any stories that I wasn't supposed to tell. Joe, too. I haven't read the book, but from what I've seen, he hasn't told any stories or any hush-hush stories that shouldn't be told."

David Wells, who also took shot at the Yankees organization in his 2003 book, "Perfect I'm Not", feels Alex Rodriguez will be affected by Torre's alleged criticism and said Torre better be able to back up his words (Torre doesn't pick physical fights like you Boomer).
"A-Rod Alex Rodriguez says that he's not worried about it, but deep down, you can't help but think, 'Why did this guy say something? Why is he making these remarks?'" Wells says in an ESPN.com video.

"Now you're gonna go on the road during the season, you're gonna get bashed by every fan out there. Especially in New York, if you have a bad game, [then it's] 'Joe was right.'

"Now it's gonna make Joe look good and A-Rod look bad, or vice versa."

"If he's gonna start being derogatory, he can probably hurt some of these guys," Wells said of his former manager.
Boomer should probably stick to what he does best...pitching, eating, and drinking.


Larry Bowa, Joe Torre's third base coach in NY and LA, backed Torre and defended A-Rod.

Rodriguez reportedly was referred to as "A-Fraud" by teammates, but Bowa reiterated to WFAN today that, if so, it was only in jest.

"This stuff about Alex not being liked in the clubhouse is so, so overblown," Bowa told hosts Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts. "He's well liked in that clubhouse."

Maybe even by Derek Jeter.

"They talk to each other, they mingle with each other, they may not go out to dinner with each other," Bowa said of the superstars' relationship.

"Alex is obsessed with winning a World Series," Bowa said. "It might be detrimental to him, he's so obsessed with it."

Seemingly running for president of A-Rod's fan club, Bowa, a 40-year baseball veteran who played with Pete Rose and Mike Schmidt, called Rodriguez "the most prepared player I've ever seen," and defended his postseason disappointments.

"It's hard to judge a guy with 11, 12, 13 at-bats," Bowa said. "Let him get deep into the playoffs when you get 40 at-bats."

"Joe's got great credibility, and if a little bit of this is gonna take it away, then so be it," Bowa said. "I don't think Joe did this to rip anybody.

Even when he goes in the back room, he doesn't rip people. He just doesn't do it."

Bowa said he never noticed resentment from Torre toward the Yankees' low-ball offer of a one-year contract prior to last season, but said Torre's glaring omission from the closing ceremony at Yankee Stadium had to bother his boss.

"In my opinion, the thing that hurt Joe -- and he won't ever admit this -- is the last day at Yankee Stadium," Bowa said. "The non-recognition. I think that did bother him."

So there ya have it. We won't know for sure how if affects A-Rod until the book comes out, gets read, and the season gets under way. We can't wait for the last part of that notion.

14 Days Until Pitchers and Catchers

What would Joe D do?

Harvey Araton of the NY Times reports that...stop the presses...Derek Jeter is a thief!

Okay, it's not a big deal, but at the time of the old Stadium's closing, Araton told Jeter he knew what he had taken as a souvenir. Jeter quickly shushed him. An evil genius mind was at work.

But now it's out the open. Jeter's pilfered souvenir? The sign with Joe DiMaggio's quote - "I want to thank the Good Lord for making me a Yankee" that hung in the runway between the Yankees clubhouse and dugout.

Oh, and Jeter took one or two other things..but he's not saying. Evil genius.

Good Luck Ducis

The tough economy is causing cuts on all fronts. That includes the sports anchors on the local (New York) affiliates. Ducis Rogers, an eternal happy face, who managed not to be an obnoxious Warner Wolf (see George Michael and Scott Clark) or ESPN clone, was axed by the local CBS affiliate as part of cost saving measures.

Morning guy John Discepolo was also let go.

What Happens in the Bronx

According to Newsday's Wallace Matthews, the Yankees are considering putting a "non-disparagement" clause in future contracts.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a Yankee official said yesterday that some members of the front office staff already are required to sign a confidentiality agreement in order to protect "proprietary knowledge of our business model." The proposed clause is intended to ensure that future books about the Yankees are "positive in tone," and "do not breach the sanctity of our clubhouse."
Given the 1st Amendment, we don't know how it would ever hold up in court.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

15 Days Until Catchers and Pitchers

Another Pitcher out of the Running

There's not much hope of a bidding war for the services of Oliver Perez and Ben Sheets, now that Andy Pettitte and Jon Garland are no longer available. Pettitte re-signed with the Yankees on Monday and Garland agreed to terms with the Diamondbacks earlier today.

The Arizona Republic reports that the 29-yr old right-hander took a 1 year deal with a club option for 2010. Salary is thought to be in the $6 - 8 million range. Garland would joining his 3rd team in 3 years once the deal is finalized.

After spending the first 8 seasons of his career with the White Sox, Garland was dealt to the Angels, for shortstop Orlando Cabrera, prior to the 2008 season.

Moose not Fearing Fall Out

Not that he'll be a part of it, but Mike Mussina, for one, doesn't think Joe Torre's book will cause any problems in the Yankees' clubhouse.
"He's the best player that I've had a chance to play with," Mussina told the paper. "And he works hard at it, and if he sat around and worried about everything that happened, he wouldn't be able to be the player that he is. I was in that clubhouse for eight years. I've seen a lot of stuff go on. A lot of stories go out. I've seen Alex deal with a lot of things, this past year and in other years. I don't foresee this as being a major issue."

"What goes on in the clubhouse and teammates razzing or giving each other a hard time doesn't necessarily mean we're cutting into people," Mussina told the Post. "Did I ever hear anybody call him ['A-Fraud']? It's possible. But that doesn't mean it's meant in a harsh way. We're stuck together for six months, and we're trying to have fun with each other and get people motivated. I don't look at that as something that's nasty."
source: MLB.com

Wright Chasing a Spot

To make room on the 40-man roster for Andy Pettitte, Chase Wright was designated for assignment.

Being that he's left-handed, it's unlikely he'll end up back in the Yankees minor league system.

Heilman Won't Be Starting for Seattle Either

That's because the former Met has been dealt to Chicago Cubs for pitcher Garrett Olson and infielder Ronny Cedeno. Heilman had been acquired by the Mariners on December 10 as part of the deal that sent J.J. Putz to the Mets. He probably will get the chance to start with the Cubs.

Olson had only been a Cub since January 18, when he was acquired from the Orioles for outfielder Felix Pie. Cedeno will back up middle infielders Yuniesky Betancourt and Jose Lopez.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen, the 2009 NY Yankees

With Andy Pettitte's signing, Brian Cashman and company are just about done putting together the 2009 roster. Here's what the 25 man squad should like on Opening Day.

Starting 9
1B Mark Teixeira
2B Robinson Cano
SS Derek Jeter
3B Alex Rodriguez
LF Johnny Damon
CF Bretty Gardner/Melky Cabrera
RF Xavier Nady
DH Hideki Matsui
C Jorge Posada

Bench
1B/OF Nick Swisher
C Jose Molina
UT Angel Berroa
OF Bretty Gardner/Melky Cabrera

Starting Rotation
CC Sabathia
A.J. Burnett
Chien-Ming Wang
Joba Chamberlain
Andy Pettitte

Bullpen
Mariano Rivera
Damaso Marte
Brian Bruney
Jose Veras
Edwar Ramirez
TBD
TBD

Scranton
Phil Hughes
Ian Kennedy


Now, of course, this can all change in a number of ways.
  1. Xavier Nady or Nick Swisher gets dealt prior to the season. As we've mentioned, we're against any such a move. Let Nady play out the year and get draft picks when you let him walk after the season. Don't talk to us about keeping payroll low.
  2. The Yankees decide to help limit Joba Chamberlain's innings by having him start the season in the bullpen. That would mean that Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, or Al Aceves would be in the starting rotation. We don't see the Yankees repeating their 2008 pattern.
  3. The bullpen spots are not guaranteed after Mariano Rivera and Damaso Marte. Of course, Mo's status will depend how he responds to off-season shoulder surgery. He has yet to start throwing. Right now it appears that Marte will be the only lefty in the pen with Phil Coke starting the season in Scranton's rotation.
  4. It's a minor one, but the utility infielder could either be Angel Berroa, Cody Ransom, or a Spring Training invitee. Berroa is a better shortstop than Ransom and that will weigh heavily in his favor.
  5. Jorge Posada's health. Posada expects to be ready for the season, but if he's not ready to go, Jose Molina gets the starts, with either Kevin Cash or Francisco Cervelli backing him up.
So there you have it. With temps in the 20s and another storm approaching, baseball can't come soon enough. PLAY BALL!

16 Days

Is Joe Torre on your Must Read List?

We want to know, will you read Joe Torre's "The Yankee Years" or are you going to take a pass. Answer the poll and let us know!

Right now, we're going with maybe. Just like some movies are better on DVD, maybe this one is better out of the library than the book store.

Update: 1:20 PM - Here are some excerpts courtesy of Jack Curry.

Monday, January 26, 2009

17 Days Until Pitchers and Catchers

Torre Gets Expected Blowback

You knew that Joe Torre wasn't going to get a pat on the back after excerpts from his latest book hit the wires on Sunday. And while Brian Cashman may have had a good talk with "St. Joe", most people are not seeing the tome in a positive light.

Tom Verducci, who penned the book with Torre, wants you to read the book before seeing segments out of context and jumping to conclusions.

Verducci is quoted as saying the book is written in third person and is not a tell-all book.
"Smart people will judge the book upon actually reading it and not reading preliminary reports prior to its publication. Once you understand the context of the book you understand the information. It's not a tell-all book. Anybody who reads it will understand that."
But as Newsday's Jim Baumbach points out, if someone gets slammed in the book, doesn't that mean they are being slammed by the authors? In this case, Torre and Verducci?

Brian Cashman, who Torre said didn't support him during his final contract negotiation, spoke with Torre via phone (from Hawaii) Sunday and felt good about their relationship afterwards.
"I'm comfortable with my relationship and how we interacted throughout the entire process," Cashman said, adding that Torre led him to believe "our relationship is strong."
Cashman, while admitting Alex Rodriguez changed the make up of the clubhouse, did not feel he was a distraction or disliked by his teammates. Torre had said players called A-Rod, "A-Fraud", behind his back.

Cashman said that when Rodriguez became a free agent after the 2007 season, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada and Pettitte all urged him to re-sign A-Rod.

"That was real," Cashman said. "It was offered up."

While we are sure Cashman is telling the truth, we don't doubt Torre's words on the matter either. Andy Pettitte, however, did contradict Torre during his quickly called contract press conference today.
"I have never one time heard of the term `A-Fraud' until I saw that rolling on the TV, I guess this morning or whenever they started reporting it," said Pettitte, who rejoined the Yankees for the 2007 season. "If it did go on, it went on before I was there."
It has to be remembered that Joe Torre loves money. There's no hiding that fact. Money would be the only reason to right such a book at this time.

Here's what some others are saying:

Wally Matthews, as many of us do, wonders about the timing of the book.
Here's the Boston Globe's take.

Tyler Kepner of the Times says, "there are no easy answers".

...and Peter Abraham says, "Nothing ever ends well".

photo courtesy of Random House and SI.com

Breaking News: Pettitte Agrees to Deal

The AP is reporting that Andy Pettitte has indeed agreed to a 1 year deal with the Yankees. Just $5.5 million will be guaranteed with another $6.5 million attainable through incentive clauses.

Rumors had it that Pettitte had been offered a guranteed $10 million, but had rejected it. One wonders if this was a take it or leave it offer, or if that guaranteed $10 million was actually on the table.

Either way, it looks like Andy Pettitte will join CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Chien-Ming Wang, and Joba Chamberlain in the Yankees rotation. This would also means Phil Hughes starting the year at Scranton unless the Yankees keep Chamberlain in the bullpen to start the season.

UPDATE 5:14 PM - Here are more details on the signing from MLB.com's Bryan Hoch.

UPDATE 9:23 PM - Peter Abraham has the audio of today's Cashman-Pettitte press conference.

Breaking News: Yankees, Pettitte in Serious Talks

SI.com's Jon Heyman is reporting that the Yankees and Andy Pettitte are in serious contract talks and are optimistic something will get done.

Interestingly enough, Heyman is indicating that Pettitte would receive less, not more, guaranteed money than previously offered.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

18 Days Until Pitchers and Catchers

Radomski Books Contradicts Testimony

A new book by Kirk Radomski could hurt the credibility (if they had any to begin with) of testimony by both Radomski and Brian McNamee, so says NY Times reporter Michael Schmidt.

McNamee had testified before Congress nearly a year ago that he never told Radomski about injecting Roger Clemens with steroids. But Radomski's book, "Bases Loaded" tells a different story. Radomski relates a time that McNamee informed him that he had injected Clemens with Winstrol. The passage could have a direct impact on the grand jury investigating possible perjury by Clemens before Congress last year.

“In a perjury case a prosecutor’s worst nightmare is for a witness to make public statements that contradicts another witness, especially the key witness in the case,” said Mathew Rosengart, a partner at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips in New York and a former federal prosecutor. “Perjury cases are almost always a he-said, she-said dispute, and there usually isn’t a smoking gun, so corroboration of witnesses is essential. The questions about Radomski are a good thing for Clemens’s defense.”

Daniel Richman, a professor of law at Columbia University and, like Rosengart, a former federal prosecutor, echoed Rosengart’s concerns. “Every inaccuracy or inconsistency will provide material for the defense for cross-examination,” Richman said. “And they will use it to create doubt in the jury’s mind about Radomski and — by extension — McNamee.”

You can bet Clemens' lawyers will be studying Radomski's book as if they were trying to pass the Bar.

Staff Keeping Away Staph

The dangers of staph infections are not lost on the Yankees personnel. Newsday reports that the Yankees have been proactive in being sure the new Stadium is properly cleaned and remains that way.
"Of course they want to protect their investments, but they also want to minimize any bacterial infection anywhere in the new stadium to protect the fans," said Craig Andrews, CEO of CSG Sportscoatings. "They are the most proactive of any organization in Major League Baseball in protecting their facilities for players and fans."
Mets catcher Brian Schneider and Blue Jays outfielder Alex Rios both had serious staph infections this past season and several NFL teams have been affected by the issue as well.

Torre Decides to Burn Bridges

We can hear Michael Kay already. "Everyone thinks he's St. Joe, but he's not", etc. Joe Torre has a new book, with Tom Verducci, 'The Yankee Years", coming out at the beginning of February. In it he takes shots at Alex Rodriguez, Brian Cashman, and George Steinbrenner, to name just a few.

On A-Rod - his teammates often referred to him as "A-Fraud" and he was obsessed with his rivalry with Derek Jeter.
Brian Cashman - Less than loyal and betrayed Torre "on several fronts". Torre was particularly unhappy with Cashman's lack of support during the post 2007 fiasco/contract negotiation. George Steinbrenner - Knew of Joe Torre's prostate cancer diagnosis before Torre could tell him. Torre was stunned by this.


Maybe this book was cathartic for Torre, and we know he loves money, but we're not big on tell all books. That being said, we'll probably read it.

Torre will be on David Letterman's show on February 3 and will be signing books that day at Yogi Berra's Museum.


Source: Daily News

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Ryan Pope Gives Back

The Yankees used a third round draft pick in 2007 to select pitcher Ryan Pope from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Pope, who went 7-7 in 20 starts for Single-A Tampa this past season, recently returned to his root to give a pitching clinic at the Chain Baseball Academy.

In addition to the mechanics of the game, Pope, and fellow SCAD alum Richard Sullivan (Braves), discussed what it's like being a professional ball player.

Joba Looks to Put DUI on Hold Again

Is the third time the charm? Newsday's Katie Strang reports that for a second time, Joba Chamberlain has postponed his hearing on suspicion of DUI. Joba's lawyer Randy Paragas wanted more time to go through the details of the case.

Paragas wanted to have everything settled by the time Spring Training began, but that seems unlikely.

Raines Takes the Reins

Dave Caldwell of the NY Times sat down recently with Tim Raines, the former Yankee, and newest manager of the Newark Bears (in their latest incarnation).
“I’m just happy to be part of the groundbreaking of a new regime, so to speak,” said Tim Raines, the new manager and former big-league outfielder, in an interview later. “Everybody likes to be the start of something new.”
Owner Marc Benson folded the team in October after 3 years of ownership. A month later the Bases Loaded Group offered $100,000 and a $1 million letter of credit to start the Bears up again.

The Empty Weekend

It's the weekend prior to the Super Bowl- possibly the most boring weekend ever. No football. The NHL is on break, and though we like the skills competition, the game itself is boring. (We would go baseball, basketball, hockey, football in ranking of least boring to most, though they all pretty much stink). The NBA regular season is pretty dull, though not as dull as the NCAA baseketball regular season. Spring training is still just a glimmer on the horizon.

There are plenty of good movies out there to see- we still can't understand how "Paul Blart, Mall Cop" made the most money last weekend.

In the Brooklyn area? You can go on the "A Slice of Brooklyn Pizza Tour". Sounds delicious.

19 more days until Spring Training

Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday Night Hot Stove

Baby Come Back
With the number of free agent pitchers dwindling, the Mets have reportedly increased their 3 year offer to Oliver Perez. Jon Heyman states that Perez is still the Mets top choice, ahead of the likes of Randy Wolf, Ben Sheets, and John Garland.

Deep in the Heart of Texas
The Rangers continue to talk with Texas native Ben Sheets, and currently have to be considered the favorites to land the free agent right-hander. Sheets met with the Rangers again this week as part of "due diligence", according to GM Jon Daniels.

We have a winner...
The Cubs have found their new owners and it's not Rod Blagojevich. Chicago investment banker Tom Ricketts has been chosen by Tribune Co. to be the new owner of the NL Central club. Ricketts and family ponied up a $900 million bid and hope to be the official owners by opening day. Time is tight though as the deal must be finalized, and approved by Major League Baseball and a bankruptcy court.

Brotherly Stab in the Back
Deadspin reported yesterday that Mark McGwire's estranged brother, Jay, is trying to find a publisher for his steroid laden tome. The younger McGwire/hopeful author claims his older brother got the idea to use steroids and HGH from watching his younger brother shoot up for body building. J Mac also claims to have injected baby bro with steroids.
"Prior to the 1998 season, [Mark] had reached a level where he did not need to get any stronger and he couldn’t afford to add any more weight. So I directed him to androstenedione testosterone booster, which is non-hormonal (which is why it can be sold legally and is not affected by the 2004 Anabolic Steroid Control Act) and works naturally with your body. “Andro” increases strength and aggression while promoting reduction of body fat and a leaner look to the physique....[U]sing andro allowed Mark to avoid all the potential adverse side effects that could occur from using anabolic steroids, such as water retention, hair loss, and liver, heart, or kidney stress. In addition, he wouldn’t have cholesterol problems or testicular atrophy. And there were no problems with the law."
Talk about sticking it to someone.

20 Days Until Pitchers and Catchers

Got a $100,000 Laying Around?

We don't mean the candy bar. It may take $100,000 to purchase a rare autographed photo of the 1927 Yankees, aka "Murderer's Row". It's just one of the many items currently on the auction block at SCP auctions.

Bidding is currently over $36,000 for the photo. There are many other amazing items on sale, such as a baseabll autographed by Lou Gehrig, Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, and others.

Is Anthony McCarron reading My Pinstripes?

Okay, so the Yankees center field dilema is a common theme these days. We ran this on Tuesday. Anthony McCarron wrote about it today's Daily News and even included a poll- though ours looks much "sexier" (and no, we don't think he ripped us off, damn conspiracy theorists.).

We both to forgot to include the ghost of Mickey Mantle.

Freddy G Picks Mets

The Daily News is reporting that Freddy Garcia has chosen to sign a minor league deal with the Mets. It makes perfect sense to us, since Garcia has a better chance of cracking the Mets rotation than he does the Yankees.

And, of course, the National League is a pitcher's Nirvana.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Daily Yankeeland - 1/22

The oldest former Major Leaguer, Billy Werber, passed away earlier today at age 100. Werber was a member of the '27 Yankees, and in fact played bridge with Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Bill Dickey.
UPDATE 1/23 - Steve Politi of the Star Ledger fondly remembers Mr. Werber.

Friday is moving day
for the Yankees. Employees of the team, players not included, will be moving from the their offices in the current/old Stadium to the new park.

ESPN.com' Keith Law released his ranking of the top 100 prospects in MLB. Orioles cathcer Matt Wieters took the top spot with Rays pitcher David Price ranked number two. Three Yankees made the list - Austin Jackson (46), Jesus Montero (83), and Andrew Brackman (95). Dellin Betances narrowly missed the top 100.

River Ave. Blues has a good profile on Betances, who along with Andres Perez, honored scout Cesar Presbott at this past weekend's New York Professional Baseball Hot Stove League Dinner.

Lanny Breuer, who represented Roger Clemens during last year's Congressional hearings, was named assistant Attorney General, for the Justice Department's Juvenile criminal division, by Barack Obama.

Jon Heyman ranked his top 15 teams that could still spend some big money in the free agent market. The Yankees are ranked 12th.
12. Yankees. Even after spending $423.5 million on Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Teixeira, they're always a threat to spend, especially if they can find a taker for Nady, or even better, Swisher (who has $21 million to go). One person said it's "less than 50-50'' that they take back Andy Pettitte. But where else is he going to go?
MLB.com's Bryan Hoch spoke with hitting coach Kevin Long about the new lineup.

21 Days Until Pitchers and Catchers

Breaking News: Cards Can't Glaus Over Need for Help at Hot Corner

The St.Louis Post-Dispatch is reporting that Cardinals' third baseman Troy Glaus will be out 3 months after having shoulder surgery. As it stands right now, Glaus would miss the first month of the regular season.

There was no mention of the problem during the team's fan fest last weekend, and the Cardinals gave no reason as to why Glaus waited so long to have the surgery. Glaus' shoulder was basically cleaned up by renowned orthopedist, Dr. Lewis Yocum.

Joba is Footloose

The Omaha-World Journal has a Q & A with Joba Chamberlain. Some audio is included. Here's an amusing excerpt.
Q. What about music?
A. It's the greatest form of expression there is. I was involved in musicals when I was in high school — "West Side Story" and "Footloose."
Q. So you can dance?
A. A little bit.
Q. Why'd you get into theater?
A. My dad always said: "You've got to be involved in sports or school or get a job." I really wasn't a huge fan of getting a job at the time. So I did theater.
Q. Did you have any embarrassing moments on stage?
A. The day we did "Footloose" a girl almost slipped off my shoulder, but I caught her. She was wearing a satin dress and heels and used my thigh as a step. ... So I basically got a heel into my thigh and nearly dropped her.
Q. Will you ever get back into theater?
A. It would be fun to do, just to be a part of something and not necessarily the headliner. I wouldn't want that much responsibility.

Freddy Garcia Re-emerges

We heard the other day that the Yankees had shown less interest in their pursuit of Freddy Garcia. According to Ken Rosenthal, that couldn't be further than the truth. Citing a source, K-Ros says that the Yankees and Mets have emerged as the front-runners in the pursuit of the free agent right-hander.

Garcia would be an interesting signing. He'd like a major league contract, but isn't likely to get anything better than a minor league deal, perhaps with an escape clause if he isn't called up to the majors by a certain date.

After throwing back to back 200+ inning seasons, shoulder problems limited him to 58 innings in 2007 and 15 innings last year. Garcia also reportedly suffered shoulder soreness pitching in the Venezuelan winter league.

Face of an Idiot

I don't like to get political on here, but I just couldn't let this pass. And idiot is too weak of a word to describe the asshole that is Rush Limbaugh. On his radio show yesterday he actually said he hoped Obama failed miserably.

Can I point something out ya windbag? If he fails, the country goes further down the toilet.

Apparently Rush has enough money and illegal prescription drugs to get him through.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sunday Nights Just Got More Annoying

ESPN's Sunday night baseball crew of Jon Miller and Joe Morgan can almost be as annoying as going to the dentist (I have a lot of experience with both). I used to like Miller, a great game caller and impersonator (Vin Scully, Phil Rizzuto), who always brought a lot of life to a broadcast. But a few years ago Miller started talking and never stopped. It's gotten to the point where there doesn't seem to be any silence between pitches.

Morgan, on the other hand, is a drip. A boring straight man, who has to compare teams to his Big Red Machine. The only thing we like about Morgan the announcer is when he says, "Bernie Wheel-yums", and we don't get to hear that any more.

But now things have gotten worse. ESPN has announced that Steve Phillips, the know-it- all of know nothing, is joining the booth. There's a reason this guy hasn't gotten a GM job since the Mets canned his ass in '03. Then again, maybe this move was just to keep John Kruk from killing him.

Jeff Kent to Hang it Up

Jeff Kent has decided to hang it up after 17 seasons in the bigs, the last four of which were spent with the Dodgers. The official announcement is expected to be Thursday at Dodger Stadium. Kent finishes his career with 377 home runs, 1,518 RBI and a .290 batting average.

The 5-time All-Star was the 2000 NL MVP while with the Giants, and also played for the Blue Jays, Mets, Indians, and Astros.

Though he doesn't have the fielding reputation of 9-time Gold Glove winner Ryne Sandberg, his offensive numbers dwarf that of the Cubs' Hall of Fame entrant, and could lead to enshrinement in Cooperstown one day.

The Daily Yankeeland - 1/21

There probably weren't too many people thinking about this with the change in government yesterday. But Michael O'Keefe (not the guy from "Caddyshack") of the Daily News realized that with Bush leaving so does a pardon chance for Roger Clemens.

Peter Abraham has the updated payroll figures after the signings of Xavier Nady and Melky Cabrera. $187.9 million is the current figure, not counting the signing bonuses that CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira received. How do I get one of those?

Ken Rosenthal wrote a piece this morning saying don't think the Yankees are done yet in putting the ball club together. He mentioned that they should go after Ben Sheets and Juan Cruz. Unfortunately, some rumor mill blogs (which I won't give a link to here) now have posts saying the Yankees are pursuing both.

ESPN.com spoke with Kirk Radomski, who said he believes his fellow sleazebag friend, Brian McNamee, over Roger Clemens.

22 Days until Pitchers and Catchers

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Pitcher Hopes to Horne in on the Action

Alan Horne heard all the hype last year, just as all of us Yankees fans did. The guy had a great chance to be the next big thing. The next in line after Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, and Ian Kennedy to have a big impact on the Yankees' rotation. Then Hughes and Kennedy crashed and burned, Chamberlain spent much of the season in the bullpen, and Horne injured his rotator cuff while pitching at Scranton.

Now Horne is headed back to Tampa, he left on Monday, to go at it again. Dustin Kent of the Jackson County Floridian, Horne's native area, spoke with the right-hander about the coming year and last season's disappointment.

About his slight rotator tear:

It was definitely frustrating,” Horne said of his injury problems in 2008. “When you’re as close as I was to pitching in the majors, close to being one of the first guys called up, it’s tough.

“It will be something to drive me to get back to where I was before the injury. The rest will take care of itself.”

“The tear was causing my shoulder to bind up really bad, so he cleaned it up so it would work a little better,” he said. “It feels good so far.”

Horne had the shoulder cleaned up in the off-season and couldn't start his workouts until December, but he's feeling good.
“I feel great so far. I’ve been real pleased with how the rehab’s gone,” he said. “I feel no pain so far. I feel like I’ve got the problem fixed and I can continue to move forward toward my ultimate goal, which is pitching in the big leagues.”
About his disappointing 2008:

“(The injury) was a big struggle for me,” he said. “It wasn’t a huge pain, it was just pretty uncomfortable. My arm wasn’t working like it was supposed to work and it just wasn’t allowing me to extend a long way.

“It took more effort to be able to throw. I was having to work a lot harder to do things I normally do without a problem. Towards the end of the season, my stuff started deteriorating.”

Horne hopes to start throwing off a mound at the beginning of February. Where Horne starts the season remains to be seen, but extended Spring Training in Tampa is the most li

Yankees Avoid Arbitration with Nady, Melky

The Yankees may or may not keep Xavier Nady and/or Melky Cabrera, but today they avoided salary arbitration with the pair, settling on a pair of one year contracts.

Anthony McCarron (NY Daily News) reports that Nady and the Yankees agreed on a 1 year, $6.55 million deal. Splitting time between the Yankees and Pirates, Nady had a career best year, hitting .305 with 25 home runs and 97 RBI. He'll be eligible for free agency after the 2009 season.

Cabrera got a 1 year, $1.4 million deal after hitting just .249 with 8 home runs and 37 RBI. Brian Bruney remains the lone Yankee that could still go to arbitration.

Catch me if you Can

Steve Goldman of YES' Pinstriped Bible thinks the Yankees need to come to Spring Training better prepared in the catching department. We couldn't agree more. It's already been stated that Jorge Posada won't be ready for the first Spring game. Goldman points out that the only Yankees catcher with experience, other than Jose Molina, is Kevin Cash, who doesn't carry much of a stick. As last year proved, you can never have enough bats, and without knowing how healthy Posada will be, (and how effective) it's even more important.

Goldman mentions Miguel Montero of the Diamondbacks, who are looking for a big return on their 25-yr old property. We like Texas' Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who has been mentioned in trade rumors a lot, but he has yet to prove he can hit big league pitching, and the position may not be his future.

The remaining free agents are, for the most part, 36 years of age or older. Greg Zaun can still, but can't throw out anyone. We saw how little Ivan Rodriguez has in the tank. Paul LoDuca? No thanks, Barnum & Bailey should be the only circus in town. Jason Varitek can't hit any more or he'd already be back with Boston (not like he would ever sign here anyway).

Yeah, that's what we thought. Kevin Cash will be Molina's back up.

The Center Field Poll

We got a new poll up in sidebar #1. Who do you think should get the bulk of playing time in center field this year. The selections are Brett Gardner, Melky Cabrera, Nick Swisher, Andruw Jones, and None of the Above.

Our choice right now is Swisher. Though he may not be the best defensive center fielder, he brings more to the plate, literally, than either Gardner or Melky. Either of them, preferably Melky, can be inserted defensively late in the ballgame. Of course, if either Swisher or Nady is dealt, it's all a moot point.

I still don't see Brett Gardner as a Major League hitter. That can all change, but if he hits .350 in Spring Training, I still won't be convinced he's ready for prime time. Unfortunately, we already know Melky's bat isn't the answer.

As for Andruw Jones, we're definitely not in favor of picking him up. He's only 31, but was out of shape last year and has a chronic bad back.

So who would you put out there? Let me know who you think will hold down the fort for Austin Jackson.

23 Days Until Pitchers and Catchers

It's a Beautiful Day

I never thought I'd see this day. I'm 47, not 147, but I didn't think I would see this day in my lifetime. With the blatant and unseen racism in this country, I didn't think it was possible that an African-American would be elected President.

I realize this was just as much of a case of wanting to push out the current party in power than anything else, but our country took an amazing step in electing Barack Obama. Some people won't accept this day. They think it's the beginning of the end. Apparently they weren't paying attention the last 8 years.

Here's to a brand new beginning and a brand new day.



Monday, January 19, 2009

The Daily Yankeeland - 1/19

Andy Pettitte hasn't come to terms with the Yankees as of yet, but he will be telling "his story" (whatever that means) to the Heights Baptist Church in Richardson, TX, on February 1.

Freddy Garcia will be making a decision shortly on where he wants to play this year, but apparently the Yankees interest has faded.

The guys over at River Ave. Blues are running a contest to win a copy of "Baseball Between the Numbers".

24 Days until Pitchers and Catchers

Baker's Dozen Headed to WBC

13 Yankees are listed in the World Baseball Classic provisional rosters released earlier today. Derek Jeter is the only players on the US team, but a number of Yankees, including Alex Rodriguez, have offered their services to the Dominican Republic squad. Melky Cabrera, Robinson Cano, Damaso Marte, Jose Veras, and Edwar Ramirez could be joining A-Rod on the finalized Dominican roster.

The Yankees' farm system could also be represented. Catcher Francisco Cervelli is on the Italian team roster, first baseman Jahdiel Santamaria is representing Panama, and pitcher Al Aceves and first baseman Jorge Vazquez are on the Mexican team.

Even China has two players listed that are Yankees property- pitcher Kai Liu and catcher Zhenwang Zhang, both of whom were signed in June, 2007.

And of course, Bernie Williams will be attempting to play for Puerto Rico, which will mostly be without Jorge Posada.

Play kicks off March 5 in Tokyo, Toronto, San Juan, PR, and Mexico City.

Bernie Talks Charity, Music, and Baseball

I had a nice surprise on the drive home tonight, Bernie Williams on the Mike Francesa show, on the FAN. Bernie's got a lot going on right now, some of it even includes baseball. You would think Francesa was his publicist with the way he was throwing dates and times out there.

First and foremost, Bernie will be holding his annual charity fundraiser for the Hillside Food Outreach, which helps feed families in Westchester and Putnam Counties. Robinson Cano and John Sterling will be among those in attendance.

Bernie's new album, "Moving Forward" will be hitting stores on April 14, but you can pre-order it now from Reform Records. He'll also be performing at the Nokia Theater on April 18. Tickets are on sale now.

Finally, to baseball. Bernie is looking forward to the World Baseball Classic and isn't concerned about his role for the Puerto Rican team. He told manager Jose Oquendo he was willing to do anything, pinch-hit, come off the bench, start, etc..

Bernie said his swing looks good, but his body isn't in "fighting" shape yet. He said the quad injury he suffered was healed and he was ready to get his body and his throwing arm into shape. He plans on working out at Pro Swings in Mt. Kisco, NY, so you just might run into him sometime.

He felt that baseball is still in his blood, and joked that at 70 he would probably think he could still play. Bernie certainly didn't rule out a Major League comeback if the WBC goes well, and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that if he were to play, it would not be in Pinstripes.


Here's Bernie with his version of "Take me out to the BallGame".

Sunday, January 18, 2009

CC, Swisher Help the Animal Kingdom

New Yankees, CC Sabathia and Nick Swisher, have joined Barry Zito and Jake Peavy in donating money to Tony LaRussa's ARF People Connect program. The financial assistance will help low income school kids learn about the connection between people and animals.

Camps and a learning center enable kids and teens to interact with animals on a regular basis. The program also helps to show the benefits of dog or cat ownership.

Conference Championship Sunday

We thought we were in for a great day today, a day that the Giants would be in the NFC championship game for the second straight season. After all, they were 11-1, riding high, click on all cylinders (insert additional cliches here). The running game was brutalizing defenses, Plaxico Burress wasn't making as many big plays, but he was helping create room for the other receivers, Eli Manning looked liked the QB who had been Super Bowl XLII MVP. Then Burress shot the season to hell.

Burress probably (and shouldn't be) won't be back in a Giants uniform. Manning looked the pre-2007 playoff version of himself in the divisional round, Kevin Gilbride forgot the running game, and now defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is gone. So while we lick our wounds, the NFL playoffs march on.

NFC

Eagles at Cardinals

We didn't see this one coming. No, we knew the Eagles were the most dangerous NFC team entering the playoffs. But we never thought the Cardinals would get past the first round, let alone the second. But here they are, and with a legitimate chance to win.

The Cards are pass first team. Run if you have to, but don't worry about it. Larry Fitzgerald showed the Panthers game just what a dangerous playmaker he is. He's even more dangerous, when the equally dangerous Anquan Boldin is on the field with him. After missing last week's game with a hamstring injury, he should be (fairly) good to go today, making it a more difficult job for Brian Dawkins and company.

Kurt Warner has been rejuvenated this season, looking like the guy who brought a Super Bowl title to St. Louis. And his current receivers are every bit as good, if not better, than who he threw to for the Rams.

Warner is mistake prone though and not mobile. He showed that in the first series of the second half against the Panthers. The problem was it was the only time Carolina did it all day. The Eagles will throw the kitchen sink at Warner, trying to get him to throw the ill advised pass or take a hit and fumble.

The Eagles don't have the offensive weapons that the Cardinals have, but they do have Brian Westbrook. Donovan McNabb spread the wealth around last week against the Giants, who did a good job of containing Westbrook. The Cardinals, whose run stopping has improved greatly, will have to do the same with Westbrook, and a better job on DeSean Jackson, L.J. Smith, etc.

We're looking at a fairly high scoring game today. Weather won't be a factor other than a few guys getting gassed from the heat. The high will be 76 in Glendale, AZ today.

Cardinals +3.5 vs Eagles Prediction: Eagles 26 Cardinals 24 (we originally thought 31-30, 30-27 and then backed off a bit).


AFC

Ravens at Steelers


Get the band aids and Bactine ready (okay, I cracked myself up anyway), this one is going to hurt. The Steelers and Ravens are ready for a nasty, rock 'em, sock 'em football game today. The problem for the Ravens is they had one last week with the Titans. In putting together a great regular season, the Titans defense was often overlooked for just how tough they were. They showed it last week, despite losing to the Ravens. But the Ravens paid a price- no Samari Rolle, no Terrell Suggs.

Those two losses on defense could be huge, especially against an experienced Steelers team that's playing very good football. It's no surprise that the Steelers are here, many observers felt they had the best defense in the league. Throw in Ben Rothliesberger, Willie Parker, and Hines Ward, and things are pretty good on offense too. It's that offense that should prove to be the difference today.

Joe Flacco will have his work cut out for him. The Steelers will probably double team Derek Mason, Flacco's most proficient weapon on offense, making it tougher for the Ravens to make a big play. And while they have bruising running backs in Le'Ron McClain and Willis McGahee, coach John Harbaugh may have to go to Rutgers' Ray Rice for a chance of pace.

This one should be hard hitting and a lot of fun. With a 6:30 EST kickoff, temps will be in the upper 20s and dropping fast. There's also a 30% chance of snow showers. Leave it to the idiots (those in league with TV), to make the West coast game the early one.

Steelers -6 vs. Ravens This one separates the men from the ├╝ber men. Steelers 24 Ravens 13

Now it's time to go fill up on Pancakes and coffee and get ready for some Rangers-Penguins hockey at 12:30.