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Posted by: Patrick
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From the AP:

Morgan Ensberg agreed Thursday to a minor league contract with the New York Yankees, giving the team another contender to play first base.

Ensberg would get a $1.75 million, one-year contract if added to the 40-man roster and would have a chance to earn $2.25 million more in performance bonuses. He would get the full amount if he has 525 plate appearances.
Posted by: James
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ESPN, in free Insider preview mode right now, has put up Keith Law's (Scouts Inc.) Top 100 Prospects in baseball. There are 5 Yankees on the list:

#3 Joba Chamberlain
#21 Jose Tabata
#24 Austin Jackson
#45 Ian Kennedy (I included his write-up below, hit up the link for the rest)
#100 Andrew Brackman

Kennedy's stuff alone would put him in the lower reaches of this list. He is here because he has superb command of average or fringe-average stuff, so superb that he is going to succeed in the majors where many guys with superior stuff will fail. He works with a fringe-average fastball that touches 90 mph on occasion but mostly falls in the 87-88 mph range, and he commands it to all four edges of the zone. His best secondary pitch is his changeup, slightly above average with some tailing action, but it works extremely well because he keeps his arm speed consistent. His curve is solidly average as well. Kennedy repeats his delivery as well as any prospect on this list, commands all of his pitches and has a great feel for pitching. With plus stuff, he would be in the top 10 overall, but with his stuff, he will have to settle for an upside as a borderline No. 3 starter or a great No. 4 starter.

Three guys in the top 25, huh? Not too shabby.

Hat tip to Mike A. for the link.
Posted by: Patrick
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From Peter Abraham:

1. Joba Chamberlain, RHP
2. Austin Jackson, OF
3. Jose Tabata, OF
4. Ian Kennedy, RHP
5. Alan Horne, RHP
6. Jesus Montero, C
7. Jeff Marquez, RHP
8. Brett Gardner, OF
9. Ross Ohlendorf, RHP
10. Andrew Brackman, RHP
11. Mark Melancon, RHP
12. Humberto Sanchez, RHP
13. Dellin Betances, RHP
14. Dan McCutchen, RHP
15. Kevin Whelan, RHP
16. Carmen Angelini, SS
17. George Kontos, RHP
18. Ivan Nova, RHP
19. Collin Curtis, OF
20. Jairo Heredia, RHP
21. Juan Miranda, 1B
22. Austin Romine, C
23. Francisco Cervelli, C
24. Dave Robertson, RHP
25. Mike Dunn, LHP
26. J.B. Cox, RHP
27. Mitch Hilligoss, INF
28. Scott Patterson, RHP
29. Edwar Ramirez, RHP
30. Zach McAllister, RHP
Posted by: Patrick
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The Daily News reports:

According to sources familiar with the entire negotiations, after the Red Sox removed Lester, the Twins called the Yankees back and proposed a scenario in which Hughes would not have to be part of the deal. Instead, they asked for Chien-Ming Wang and Ian Kennedy. The Yankees flatly rejected that, leaving the Mets as the Twins' only alternative.

Via Tony Gicas.
Posted by: Patrick
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Brian McNamee's lawyers are acting like they are pretty confident that Andy Pettitte will corroborate the claims that have been made against Roger Clemens. One of his lawyers, Earl Ward, said:

"Based on what we know, there was a situation where Andy was speaking to Roger in Brian's presence, then Andy came over to Brian and essentially said, 'Why didn't you tell me about this stuff?' He referred to HGH. Brian discouraged him and then several months later, when he (Pettitte) got injured, he came back and asked Brian about it, and that's when Brian injected him. We believe that based on the fact that Andy came to Brian and asked him about HGH, it was Roger who told Andy about HGH and that's why he asked Brian about it."

Meanwhile, Pettitte's lawyer, Jay Reisinger, had this to say:

"He hasn't testified yet, and I'm not going to comment on what he's going to testify about.

We'll know on Monday.
Posted by: Patrick
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From the official site:

The deposition for Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte has been postponed from this Wednesday to next Monday, the two Congressional leaders of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee said in a joint statement released on Tuesday.
Posted by: Patrick
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Our next interview is with John Amato of Pinstripe Alley.

When you aren't doing something related to or depending on the Yankees, what are you up to?

I run a political blog that is my full time job, so to speak, so when I'm not writing about the Yanks, I'm buried in the world of politics.

How long have you been blogging about the Yankees?

This will be the third full season.

What's the best and worst part of blogging?

The best: Interacting with the readership and the other writers on Pinstripe Alley. Providing in depth coverage about the team that I'm so passionate about. Conducting interviews with players and sports writers.

The worst: The daily grind of producing content day in and day out. Also, when you cover your favorite team, even if they win one hundred games, you still have to watch, comment and analyze sixty two losses. That's a lot of defeats and it gives me a different perspective on winning and losing. lol.

» Read More

Posted by: Seamus
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Well, hopefully now we can stop seing this guy's name everywhere related to the Yankees, as it looks like the former Cy Young Award winner is headed to the Mets.
Posted by: Patrick
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The Hendricks Sports Management, which represents Roger Clemens, has released the Clemens Report. Catchy title! The reports attempts to illustrate that Clemens numbers are plausible without the use of performance enhancing drugs.

Via Steve.
Posted by: Patrick
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Peter Abraham has the details on Cano's new contract.

He'll earn $3 million in 2008, $6 million in 2009, $9 million in 2010, $10 million in 2011, $14 million in 2012 and $15 million in 2013. Either of those last two years can be bought out for $2 million. So, the deal can be as short as $30 million for four years ($7.5 per) or $57 million for six years ($9.5 per). Works for me.
Posted by: Patrick
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From MLB.com:

Chuck Knoblauch has agreed to give testimony to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee both privately and later at a public hearing on Feb. 13, the two Congressional leaders of that committee said in a joint statement released on Monday.

Knoblauch, whose deposition or taped interview had been scheduled for Tuesday, has had it postponed for the second time and is now rescheduled for Saturday.

The subpoena against him was withdraw due to the fact that he is now testifying "voluntarily".
Posted by: Patrick
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From the New York Post:

David Cone has made peace with the Yankees and will return this year to broadcast about 50 games on YES, The Post has learned.
Posted by: Patrick
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Anthony DiComo, Peter Abraham and Tyler Kepner report from the event.

"The reason I'm here tonight is because of all your love for me," Murcer told a crowd of writers, players, Hall of Famers and fans at the 85th annual New York BBWAA dinner. "That's what's sustained me and that's what's given me the strength to be here tonight and to fight this deadly disease."

While Murcer was just one winner among many on Sunday, his award meant something more. And the crowd certainly punctuated that, honoring him with a rousing standing ovation after new Yankees manager Joe Girardi presented the award.

"Bobby, you've inspired us with all the hits and the great catches," Girardi said, "but you've never inspired us more than with the way you live your life."

Johnny Damon, honored for his community service, needed awhile to compose himself after a veteran who lost his left arm in Iraq introduced him. Damon is active with the Wounded Warrior Project, and he seemed genuinely humbled and moved. ...

A-Rod also recalled a funny story about new Hall of Famer Goose Gossage, his teammate on the 1994 Seattle Mariners. A-Rod was 18 then, and he remembers calling his mom to tell her that the great Goose Gossage wouldn’t let him use the players’ bathroom on the team plane. Gossage, who was 43, would send A-Rod to the front of the plane, so he’d have to shuffle past the fiery manager, Lou Piniella.
Posted by: Patrick
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Well, no, there's no report saying that. However, Charley Walters reports that a trade of Santana is "... expected to occur within 10 days, though." The article mentions that the Twins don't consider the Yankees out of the race.

Via Ken Davidoff.
Posted by: Patrick
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First, Kyle Perkins, now Nathan Aron.

The 16-year-old infielder/outfielder and his parents met with a Yankees' scout following the tournament in Perth last week and, after listening to the club's offer which included a signing bonus, put his name on a contract.

``We are all still blown away, it is very exciting,'' mum Heather Aron said.

Via Peter Abraham.
Posted by: Patrick
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I briefly met Johnny Damon at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Florida last week. He made a scheduled appearance at the Puma booth. He was about 45 minutes late, if I recall, but my brother, Sean, and I were like the 6th and 7th people in line (after a couple of people felt they needed to cut, of course).

The Puma people didn't really think the whole thing through because they had a closed booth. Most of the booths at the PGA Show you can simply walk into easily. But, this one was closed at all sides with a relatively small entrance at the front. You can just walk right in, if you want, but it's not as inviting as most other booths. They do this to limit casual browsers, I'm sure and try to make it so that the people who go in are people who really want to buy Puma products for their golf club/organization.

We got there about 45 minutes early (scheduled for 4:00 PM) and got in line once someone else started one. And the line got longer... and longer... and longer. It was quite long when Johnny arrived. I don't think the Puma people expected this. I think they wanted it to be a sort of VIP event for people who were going to most likely buy Puma products - not the average Joe. They had some sort of deal with Nintendo where they had a Wii set up inside and, hours before it had set up, one of the Puma representatives had said that it would be an informal meet and greet with Johnny playing the Wii, etc.

But, if a VIP only event is what they wanted to do, they didn't do it as they should have because they listed him in the official expo publications (magazines, websites, etc.) as a celebrity appearance. If you do that, it's open to everyone, really. If you want it to be VIP only, you tell your VIPs directly and hand out invite passes during the day to come back later and meet Johnny. You don't advertise it. While they were generally nice and accommodating, I got the feeling that it didn't go exactly as they had dreamed. Still, it went well and it was cool to meet him.

Since it was a closed space, they only let a certain number of people in at a time. Maybe 20 or so. My brother and I went in with the first group. We spotted Johnny talking to some reporter or something and then spotted someone who was in line ahead of us talking to him, giving me an idea of where we needed to go to meet him. So, we waited a second and then walked right up to him. There were a lot of people waiting, so it was a quick thing, maybe a minute tops. We just shook his hand, introduced ourselves and said that we were big Yankees fans and got his autograph (plus one for my little brother who went home early). He was glad to sign the extra one, thanked us for coming out and seemed like a really nice guy. His attention was then called to by someone else. We were going to try to get a picture, but I didn't want to take up any more of his time with a line like that. Though I didn't study him by any means, he did appear to be in good shape which can only mean good things for us this season.

(While walking the floor, I also spotted Scottie Pippen and we met John Barmon, the actor that played Spaulding Smails in the classic movie, Caddyshack. Very nice man, as well).
Posted by: Patrick
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From The Canberry Times:

The latest Canberra teenager bound for the big US baseball leagues is expected to sign a seven-year deal with the New York Yankees today.

Kyle Perkins, 16, joins the world's most renowned baseball club after being spotted by a Yankees scout during last year's under-18 national championship in Western Australia.

The report notes that Perkins will join the organization in 2010 as a catcher, after finishing up school.

Via Steve via Repoz.
Posted by: Patrick
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The AP has a long, but interesting interview with Hank Steinbrenner, covering many topics, from his dad and the Yankees teams of the mid to late 90s to his favorite clutch hitter and more.

"I will be patient with the young pitchers and players. There's no question about that because I know how these players develop,'' he said. "But as far as missing the playoffs - if we miss the playoffs by the end of this year, I don't know how patient I'll be. But it won't be against the players. It won't be a matter of that. It will be a matter of maybe certain people in the organization could have done something else.'' ...

"Don't make any mistake about it: Our team in the late 90s beat everybody, and we beat everybody because we were that much better than everybody,'' he said. "And they had just as many players doing stuff - all the teams. I guarantee you go through every team in baseball, and they all have the same basic percentage of players doing stuff. They just weren't as good as us. You think the Red Sox didn't have players doing stuff back then? Give me a ... break. They just weren't as good as us, and neither was anybody else.'''

Via Steve.
Posted by: Patrick
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A source told the Post that the Yankees have signed Robbie Cano to a 4 year, $30 million dollar contract with two option years, making it a 6 year deal, potentially.

Via SG.
Posted by: Patrick
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From the official site:

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has rearranged its schedule of depositions or taped interviews in its review of Major League Baseball's performance-enhancing drug issue, moving Roger Clemens back from this coming Saturday until Feb. 5.

Brian McNamee, his former personal trainer, has been moved from next Thursday to Feb. 7.
Posted by: Patrick
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Ken Rosenthal reports that, according to sources, the Yankees are close to a four year, $30 million dollar deal with Robinson Cano. He mentions that the deal is expected to include club options that would allow the Yankees to pick up 1-2 years of free agency. Sounds good to me. Let's lock up Robbie and Wang.

Via Tony Gicas.
Posted by: Patrick
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From the Times:

José Canseco, the former major league slugger and admitted steroid user who exposed other players in his 2005 best-selling book “Juiced,” offered to keep a Detroit Tigers outfielder “clear” in his next book if the player invested money in a film project Canseco was promoting, according to a person in baseball with knowledge of the situation. ...

Four people in baseball confirmed that referrals were made from Major League Baseball to the F.B.I. regarding Canseco’s actions relating to the six-time All-Star outfielder Magglio Ordóñez, who was not mentioned in Canseco’s earlier book or in any other report on performance-enhancing drugs in baseball. All four insisted on anonymity because they said they didn’t have authority to speak about the events.

Via Tony Gicas via Rotoworld.com.
Posted by: Patrick
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On his blog, Phil Hughes talks about the loss of velocity that he experienced last year.

After coming back from my injury last season my mechanics were a little out of whack. This led to a little loss of velocity and command. When Dave arrived in September we were able to work out some things and I think that had a lot to do with the success I had at the end of the season. It was nice to finish off the year on a good note so I have something to work toward to get back to my normal self in 2008.
Posted by: Patrick
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Trentonian.com has an interview with Yankees prospect Alan Horne.

after the Tommy John surgery?

A: I think everybody goes through that who has that surgery even as high a success rate as it is. There’s plenty of people who just do not come back to play the sport. It’s something that’s going to be in the back of your mind, but it’s not going to be something you really think about. You’ve just got to continue to put in the work every day and it’s a very strenuous physical and mental program and it’s definitely something that I went through. I don’t think there’s a single guy that’s had the surgery that can tell you it didn’t cross their mind at some point in time.

Q: On the other side of the coin, some people have said some pitchers come back even stronger after Tommy John. Did you notice any of that?

A: No, not particularly with me that I can tell any stronger or anything like that.

I do feel like my endurance is really a lot better as far as my arm goes. It really doesn’t get sore or really that tired any more. I didn’t have a big spike in velocity or anything that. I’ve come back pretty much as I was before. So I didn’t have anything there, but I feel good over a longer period of time now.

Via Ben.
Posted by: Patrick
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From the AP:

Former major leaguer Chuck Knoblauch had not been tracked down as of early Wednesday evening by federal marshals trying to serve him a subpoena from a House panel investigating steroids in baseball, a committee staffer told The Associated Press. ...

Knoblauch, a four-time All-Star who played for the Yankees, Twins and Royals from 1991-02, originally was asked to appear Thursday for what was supposed to be the first of five depositions or transcribed interviews scheduled by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Via Peter Abraham.
Posted by: Patrick
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From Anthony McCarron:

Almost three months after he was a finalist for the Yankees' managerial job, Don Mattingly has asked the Dodgers to scale back his responsibilities as a member of Joe Torre's new coaching staff in Los Angeles.

Mattingly was supposed to be the Dodgers' hitting coach this year, but he was replaced yesterday by Mike Easler. Instead, Mattingly is going to serve as what the Dodgers called a "major league special assignment coach."

The article cites sources close to the situation as saying that Mattingly and his wife, Kim, have decided to separate after 28 years of marriage.

Here at YB, we hope everything works out for them.

Via DJ.
Posted by: Seamus
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Newsday's Ken Davidoff has an interesting piece describing the friendship (or lack thereof?) between Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte. The article's source is a mutual friend of the two who says that basically they enjoyed training together, but that's as far as it went. It also mentions Pettitte's displeasure with Clemens' taped phone call with Brian McNamee and how Clemens seemed to be displeased by the fact that Pettitte corroborated McNamee's claim of Andy's HGH use.

Andy Pettitte is said by friends to be upset with Roger Clemens because of Clemens' aggressive defense to the charges leveled against him in the Mitchell Report. Most of all, Pettitte didn't care for Clemens' public airing of his taped phone call with accuser Brian McNamee, which accomplished little.

Among its many unexpected consequences, the Mitchell Report has magnified just how different Clemens and Pettitte are. And with the two men set to share a table at Capitol Hill's Rayburn Hall next month, it's as good a time as any to point out that this supposed mentor-protege's relationship has been overblown by the media -- with this space as guilty as anyone else.

"They were never as close as they were made out to be," a friend of both said on the condition of anonymity. "They just sort of went along with it in the media, because it was a good story."

I don't think this means we should expect to see a future episode of "Celebrity Deathmatch" featuring these two, but it is an interesting read nonetheless.
Posted by: Seamus
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...avoiding arbitration with the third baseman.

Now we have an option in case A-Rod decides to...wait, nevermind.
Posted by: James
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Milb.com posted a long piece yesterday about Humberto Sanchez and his road back from Tommy John. Here are some of the interesting parts but the whole article is well done and worth the time.

After undergoing Tommy John surgery on April 17, 2007, what had been a promising season for one of the newest top prospects in the Yankees organization suddenly became a long, hot summer of rehab.
...
Despite feeling strong and in shape, the 6-foot-6 right-hander discovered that he was unable to completely straighten his arm.

"It didn't hurt to throw, but my extension wasn't where it was supposed to be," explained Sanchez, who underwent more X-rays with famed doctor Dr. James Andrews to figure out the cause of the problem. "They showed that I had some bone spurs in my elbow that had calcified. It happens in maybe one out of 400 cases, but for some reason in mostly Hispanic guys, though they don't know why."

Knowing that it could cause future problems, Sanchez and his doctor decided to go back into surgery to clean out the spurs, setting his progress back another couple of weeks.
...
When visiting his mom in New York, he's watched the new Yankee Stadium rise next to the current park. It fills him with mixed emotions. "The stadium was old and I'm all for change," he said. "The new stadium is absolutely state-of-the-art. I was just in awe at how beautiful everything was." Sanchez knows what the next months hold for him -- throwing constantly and getting into shape. The latter, Sanchez admits, is something he has historically not been too keen on.
...
When camp convenes next month, expect Sanchez to be about a month or so behind the other pitchers reporting. It is hoped that by March he'll be able to throw off a mound. Ideally he would finish Spring Training by remaining in Tampa for a rehab stint with the Yankees' Class A Advanced Florida State League team.
...
"My goal is just to be 100 percent by the end of April, a year out from the surgery," he said. "My dream goal would be to be in New York by the All-Star break, but a lot of things come into it -- if they need someone there [and] my performance at that point."
Posted by: James
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He will also be facing an additional manslaughter charge. What a horrible, horrible story...and one that could have easily been prevented.

Leyritz, initially charged with DUI manslaughter and DUI property damage after the crash, will now face an additional manslaughter charge, according to a Fort Lauderdale Police Department news release.

Results of the tests show that the 44-year-old Leyritz had a blood-alcohol levels of 0.14 at 6:10 a.m. and 0.13 at 7:12 a.m. on Dec. 28, the day his 2006 Ford Expedition crashed at an intersection and collided with the car of Fredia Ann Veitch. The legal limit for Florida drivers is 0.08.
Posted by: James
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I can't get enough of Chad Jennings' blog. Maybe it's because I'm a prospect junkie but I think he does a great job. Today, he's got another post detailing Yankees farm director Mark Newman's take on some minor league matters.

Here are the high points. P.J. Pilittere will start the season at Triple-A Scranton and Cervelli will be in Double-A. Dan McCutchen is thought to have the makings of a very good reliever in the organization (though he’ll stay in the rotation for now - doesn't specify AA/AAA). Kevin Whelan will be in AA/AAA depending on his performance in camp.
Posted by: Patrick
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The gold Yankee Stadium sign for the new Yankee Stadium has gone up. It looks pretty cool, I think. See the pictures at MLB.com.

Via Ben.
Posted by: James
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MLB.com has an article up detailing the 26 non-roster players that the team is inviting to Spring Training. That brings the total number of players scheduled to report to 66. Beyond Nick Green, Darrell Rasner and Jason Lane, there are:

Other non-roster invitees with big league experience include infielder Bernie Castro, right-hander Daniel Giese, left-hander Heath Phillips, infielder Cody Ransom, right-hander Scott Strickland and left-hander Billy Traber.

The Yankees also invited the following players: right-handers Alan Horne, Steven Jackson, Daniel McCutchen and Mark Melancon; catchers Kyle Anson, Jason Brown, Jesus Montero, P.J. Pilittere and Austin Romine; infielders Eric Duncan and Marcos Vechionacci; and outfielders Brett Gardner, Justin Christian, Colin Curtis, Austin Jackson, Greg Porter and Jose Tabata.

Melancon and McCutchen, huh? Let's hope they turn a few heads since they are not on the fast track to the Bronx this year. The same thing goes for Gardner and Horne, except those guys will probably be called up at some point during the season. Finally, Montero is something of a surprise to me. I guess that just says a lot about how much they think of this kid.
Posted by: Patrick
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Peter Abraham reports that free agent center fielder Mike Cameron has signed with the Brewers, ending speculation that he might sign with the Yanks.
Posted by: Patrick
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From Bryan Hoch:

"With all the history and tradition, it's pretty much everybody's dream to wear the pinstripes and be part of the Yankees organization," Hawkins said by telephone. "I'm looking forward to it. It's funny. I'm excited about it, but my family and friends -- they're ecstatic about it.

"Now they're all Yankees fans. With the Yankees, you either love them or hate them. I like being a part of that whole aura."
Posted by: Patrick
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Chuck Knoblauch spoke to The New York Times about his name coming up in the Mitchell Report. He declined comment on the allegations.

I have nothing to defend,” Knoblauch said. “I have nothing to hide at the same time.”

He described the Mitchell report as “crazy” and “interesting,” and added that what actually bothered him about being mentioned in the report is that “I’ve got nothing to do with any of that, I mean, any baseball.”

“And I don’t want anything to do with baseball,” he added.

Via PSD.
Posted by: Patrick
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Ken Rosenthal reports that the Yankees have shown "serious interest" in free agent center fielder Mike Cameron. Rosenthal notes that the team feels they could trade Melky, even if they don't trade him for Johan.

Via Steve.

01/10: Lane Signed

Posted by: Patrick
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Peter Abraham reports that Brian Cashman said (on YES) that Jason Lane has been signed.
Posted by: Patrick
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From the official site:

The word "energy" became an inside catch-phrase for the Yankees' clubhouse last season, with Melky Cabrera's youthful spirit serving as a major driving force toward the team's second-half turnaround.

Though Cabrera's tenure in New York has been relatively brief, his hard-working demeanor has already made an impact both on the field and off. Cabrera is set to be honored in the Big Apple on Feb. 5, when he will be presented with the Thurman Munson Award for excellence in competition and philanthropic work within the community.

Good for Melky.
Posted by: Patrick
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Mike Puma reports that, according to a source, the Yankees are interested in former Astros/Padres outfielder Jason Lane. The article notes that the Yankees would be interested in him as a first baseman.

Lane, who was traded to San Diego on September 24, appeared in three games for the club. The 494 games prior had been spent in Houston. He is a career .241 hitter with a .314 OBA and .457 SLG.
Posted by: Patrick
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From Kat O'Brien:

If the Yankees do complete a trade for Santana, Steinbrenner said they would not go beyond a five-year contract extension (one that expires after the 2013 season).

"I wouldn't do it if it were a six- or seven-year contract," Steinbrenner said. "I wouldn't go past five, on an extension."

Via Steve.
Posted by: Patrick
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Not a surprise, but Goose will enter the Hall as a Yankee.

Rich "Goose" Gossage will be enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame as a member of the New York Yankees, it was revealed at a press conference to introduce Gossage as a member of baseball's most elite fraternity on Wednesday.

And just to accentuate the point, Hall officials produced a plastic, long-necked white goose wearing a Hall of Fame jersey. Jane Forbes Clark, the chairman of the Hall, topped it off with a mini dark-blue Yankees batting helmet, replete with the silver interlocking NY on the front.
Posted by: Patrick
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From Alyson Footer:

The scheduled hearing that would have brought Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte and former trainer Brian McNamee before Congress next week has been rescheduled for Feb. 13. ...

"The Oversight Committee will postpone the hearing until February 13, 2008, which is after the sentencing of Kirk Radomski. The witnesses to be invited to the rescheduled hearing are Brian McNamee, Kirk Radomski, Andy Pettitte, Chuck Knoblauch, and Roger Clemens.
Posted by: James
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Hat tip to David Pinto who notes that Goose Gossage gets into the Hall of Fame with 86% of the vote.

Jim Rice came the closest to getting in (though I personally am unsure that he deserves a berth in the HoF). Bert Blyleven jumped from last year to garnering 62% of the vote this year and hopefully, at some point,the writers will realize that he belongs.

I am really disappointed at the showings for McGwire and Raines though. Less than 24% each? Really? That's all that these guys could muster? I mean, really - Lee Smith put up 43% of the vote.
Posted by: Patrick
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SI.com's Jon Heyman has an exclusive with Brian McNamee, responding to yesterday's Clemens press conference. He's maintaining his story. The article also cites as 2006 interview where he denies that Clemens and Pettitte used anything, along with denying involvement himself.

"I don't have any dealings with steroids or amphetamines," McNamee said. "I didn't buy it, sell it, condone it or recommend it. I don't make money from it, it's not part of my livelihood and not part of my business."

01/08: BA Top 10

Posted by: James
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Baseball America just released its online version of the Yanks Top 10 Prospects.

1. Joba Chamberlain, rhp
2. Austin Jackson, of
3. Jose Tabata, of
4. Ian Kennedy, rhp
5. Alan Horne, rhp
6. Jesus Montero, c
7. Jeff Marquez, rhp
8. Brett Gardner, of
9. Ross Ohlendorf, rhp
10. Andrew Brackman, rhp

I wouldn't say that there are any huge surprises...though I personally am surprised to see Gardner and Ohlendorf so high on the list.
Posted by: Patrick
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From the AP:

Pete Mackanin, who ended last season as the Cincinnati Reds interim manager, has taken a job with the New York Yankees as a major league scout.
Posted by: Patrick
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The Clemens press conference sounds like it was crazy. Clemens played an audio tape of a conversation between him and McNamee from last week. From WCBS NEWSRADIO 880:

Roger Clemens' former trainer said he was willing to go to jail and repeatedly asked the pitcher ``what do you want me to do?'' during a 17-minute telephone conversation last week.

A recording of last Friday's conversation between Clemens and Brian McNamee was played Monday at the start of Clemens' news conference. Clemens' lawyers said that because McNamee didn't deny Clemens' claims that he never used steroids, it amounted to proof that Clemens was telling the truth.

They have the audio, as well. (Warning: some vulgaries). It's a bit eerie listening to it, honestly. But, it does help Roger.
Posted by: Patrick
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As you probably know, Roger Clemens was on a television program last night. See coverage by Alyson Footer and Peter Abraham for more. Boston.com has a transcript.

On the same night that the interview aired, Clemens filed suit against McNamee (via Footer) for defamation.

"All of McNamee's accusations are false and defamatory per se," the lawsuit states. "They are not true, and they injured Clemens' reputation and exposed him to public hatred, contempt, ridicule, and financial injury. McNamee made the allegations with actual malice, knowing they were false."

Clemens' lawsuit also asks a Texas court to declare that he has not defamed McNamee. McNamee's New York lawyers have threatened to sue Clemens for defamation, depending what Clemens said on 60 Minutes.
Posted by: Patrick
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Steve Politi has some quotes from Hank Steinbrenner. Worth a read.

On the Red Sox winning a second championship in four years:

"All credit to them. John Henry has done a great job as owner, (Theo) Epstein has done a great job as GM, but we intend to make things right again -- the way they have historically been. Obviously, the Red Sox are going to continue to be a major player, which they weren't in the past. But we intend to be the champs again, and they can be runner's up." ...

On Alex Rodriguez returning to the team:

"I don't blame him. I don't blame him at all. He never intended on leaving the Yankees -- believe me, it's the truth. This guy is -- and I keep telling people but it's like they don't believe it -- but this guy has done a great job with our young players. He's a leader, they look up to him, just like they did with I truly believe him when he said he had no intention of leaving. Like I said before, he won the fans over quicker than Mickey Mantle."
Posted by: Patrick
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From Peter Abraham:

“The dynamics are changing with us. When I signed up with this current three-year deal, and this is the last year of it, it was with full authority to run the entire program. George had given me that. But things have changed in this third year now with the emergence of Hal and Hank Steinbrenner and that started this winter,” he said, “I’m learning as I go along, too. But it is different. But one thing is that I’ve been with this family, the Steinbrenner family, for well over 20 years. So I’m focused fully on doing everything I possibly can to assist them in their emergence now as decision makers.”
Posted by: Patrick
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Peter Abraham, in response to a mailbag question, reports:

I e-mailed media relations director Jason Zillo and he replied thusly: “Mr. Sheppard is feeling much better and is scheduled to resume his position behind the mic for Opening Day.” So that is good news.

Good news indeed.
Posted by: Patrick
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Christian Red reports that former Sports Illustrated associate editor Don Yaeger, who was slated to work with Canseco on the follow up to "Juiced," has passed on the project.

"I'm passing," Yaeger told the Daily News. "I had a chance to review the Jose Canseco (material) that he provided me. I don't think there's a book there. I don't know what they're going to do. I don't think he's got what he claims to have, certainly doesn't have what he claims to have on A-Rod.

Via Andrew Fletcher.
Posted by: Seamus
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According to Newsday, Roger Clemens and former trainer Brian McNamee talked over the phone on Friday, apparently to discuss each other's claims about Clemens' steroid use:

In a surprising twist to their public war of words, Roger Clemens and his former trainer, Brian McNamee, spoke by telephone Friday night, Newsday has learned. It was their first contact since the Mitchell Report was released Dec. 13, and a person close to the situation described the hourlong conversation between the longtime friends as "emotional."

McNamee then injected a vile of human growth hormone into the buttocks of Clemens.

Just kidding.
Posted by: Patrick
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Keith Law now has a tally of 103 Hall of Fame ballots. Gossage is still holding strong, appearing on 88% (or 91) of the ballots. He's still the only person with a high enough percentage to enter the hallowed halls. Results will be announced on Tuesday.
Posted by: Patrick
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From Barry M. Bloom:

Roger Clemens will now be able to tell a Congressional committee what he's been telling the world: That despite the accusations documented on pgs. 167-175 of the Mitchell Report, he has never been injected with either steroids or human growth hormone.

Clemens, the seven-time Cy Young Award winner and current active leader with 353 victories, has been called to testify on Jan. 16 in front of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, along with the personal trainer, Brian McNamee, who told federal investigators and former Sen. George Mitchell that he injected Clemens with performance-enhancing substances numerous times from 1998 to 2001.

Andy Pettitte and Chuck Knoblauch, other players who McNamee named, were also called to testify, as well as Kirk Radomski, the former Mets clubhouse employee, who supplied McNamee with the drugs. Radomski said in the report that he supplied at least 51 players with drugs over a 10-year period.
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Peter Abraham reports that the Yankees have signed RHP Scott Strickland, LHP Heath Phillips, LHP Billy Traber and C Jason Brown to minor league deals. They'll all be invited to spring training.
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The 60 Minutes site has released some quotes from next Sunday's interview with Roger Clemens. He admits to receiving injections from Brian McNamee, but says that they were not steroids or human growth hormone - they were B12 and Lidocaine. They have video of him saying this at the site. Though, as a commenter at the 60 Minutes site points out - it doesn't quite sound like he's saying Lidocaine. Still, it may be a slip of the tongue.

In the interview, he swears that he has never used any banned substances.

In response, McNamee's lead attorney had this to say:

However, Clemens’s version was immediately disputed by McNamee’s lead lawyer, Earl Ward, in a telephone interview Thursday evening. “The only injections he ever gave Clemens were for steroids and human growth hormone,” Ward said of McNamee, adding that he had spoken with his client after Clemens’s CBS comments became public earlier in the day and that McNamee had reiterated his previous allegations.

And Clemens attorney had something to say about that:

Reached by telephone late Thursday, Hardin responded to Ward’s assertions that McNamee only injected Clemens with performance-enhancing drugs, saying: “Mr. Ward is responding in a way that reflects that he believes his client. Hallelujah and blessings to him. However, at the end of the day, everyone is going to discover Mr. Ward is wrong.”

The article also states that, according to another attorney representating McNamee, that an admission that he had received injections from McNamee could be enough to deter a lawsuit against Clemens.

Via Peter Abraham.
Posted by: Patrick
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Anthony McCarron from the New York Daily News spoke with Hank Steinbrenner on the possibilities of a deal for Santana and of signing Roger Clemens. On a Santana deal:

"I think the Twins realize our offer is the best one," Steinbrenner said Wednesday in a telephone interview. "I feel confident they're not going to trade him before checking with us one last time and I think they think we've already made the best offer."

Steinbrenner said the offer "does not include two of the three young pitchers" - Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy, from a group that also includes untouchable Joba Chamberlain - "but it's still the best one. And let's face it, we're the best able to handle the kind of contract (extension) Santana will be after."

And Clemens:

"I'm not signing Clemens," Steinbrenner, the Yankees' senior vice president, said in a telephone interview yesterday. He said the Yanks are not looking for rotation stopgaps - like they were last season - because they are so enamored of their young starting pitchers. And Steinbrenner feels the Yanks already have a strong mentor to the young arms in Andy Pettitte, whom Steinbrenner praised for his "veteran leadership.

"Andy is (signed) for one year and he's only 35 and he knows how to pitch in the big games," Steinbrenner said. "Roger does, too, but let's face it, he's going to be 46 (in August).

Via Bryan Hoch.
Posted by: James
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Project Prospect recently posted their Top 10 Catching Prospects and have Montero at 7 and Cervelli at 9 in what they refer to as "one of the deeper classes of catching prospects in recent years".

7. Jesus Montero (11/28/89), ETA: 2011
After signing with the New York Yankees for $2 million as an international free agent in 2006, Jesus Montero entered the 2007 campaign with such a big target on his back that only a 6-foot-4, 225-pounder could support it. And support it he did. A native of Guacara, Venezuela, Montero posted a .280/.366/.421 vital line and .350 wOBA in 123 Rookie League plate appearances last season—as a 17-year-old. While his ceiling is hard to rival, the depth of this year’s catching class—paired with the long journey he still has to overcome to reach the Majors—slides Montero to the No. 7 slot on our list.

9. Francisco Cervelli (3/6/86), ETA: 2010
Posting a .279/.383/.397 vital line in the pitcher’s paradise that is the High-A Florida State League, Francisco Cervelli becomes the second Yankee catching prospect to earn his way into our Top 10. While it could easily be overlooked given his low slugging percentage, Cervelli managed a 34.6% XBH rate a season ago—with 24 of his 28 XBH coming in the form of doubles. Like Jesus Montero, Cervelli still has a long ways to go to reach the big leagues, but certainly has the abilities to do just that in due time.

Of course, this list doesn't include Austin Romine who John Sickels recently graded a B- but who has yet to see pro-ball action. For more on Romine, check out Mike A.'s great profile on the kid over at RAB.
Posted by: Patrick
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The AP has some quotes from Joe Torre on Roger Clemens, the Mitchell Report and related subjects. A sample:

"I'm very close to Roger. When I say close to him, he was a great competitor for me. Andy the same way. And I certainly know they're two proud individuals that only like to do the right thing," Torre said. "I'd just like to leave it at that." ...

"It made it look like a lopsided report," Torre said. "Plus, don't forget, the Yankees have so many people coming through there on a year-to-year basis. We changed over quite often, whether it would be a player for the month of May, a player for the month of September. But I think the big part of it was the access, where these two people were both based in New York."