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You are currently viewing archive for February 2008.

02/29: Whoa, Hank...

Posted by: Patrick
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This is what happens whe you read the first half of an article, realize "er... it's getting later and I still have a bunch of work to do" and skim the rest.

You miss this quote, that Alex pointed out:

For his part, Hank betrays no worry about the competition in the American League, whether it’s the Cleveland Indians, who eliminated the Yankees last year; the Detroit Tigers, who added Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis this winter; or, above all, the Red Sox, who have not only won the World Series twice in the last four years but are arguably becoming a national phenomenon. “Red Sox Nation?” Hank says. “What a bunch of [expletive] that is. That was a creation of the Red Sox and ESPN, which is filled with Red Sox fans. Go anywhere in America and you won’t see Red Sox hats and jackets, you’ll see Yankee hats and jackets. This is a Yankee country. We’re going to put the Yankees back on top and restore the universe to order.”

02/29: Igawa...

Posted by: Patrick
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The Yankees topped the University of South Florida by the score of 11-4 today. Check out the box score. If you throw out the 6th inning, the Yankees won, 11-0. What happened in the sixth? Kei Igawa pitched.

After getting the first out, he walked the ninth hitter on 5 pitches, according to Peter Abraham. In the next three hitters, he'd get another out, but also walk another guy and hit someone to load them up with 2 down. And then: grand slam. Ouch.
Posted by: Patrick
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Jonathan Mahler has an interesting look at Hank and Hal Steinbrenner (and the whole Steinbrenner family, to an extent).

Via Steve.
Posted by: Patrick
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From Bill Madden:

According to an emotional e-mail sent to friends Thursday from Murcer’s wife, Kay, the Yankee broadcaster will undergo a brain biopsy on Monday in Houston after an MRI revealed an “area that doctors are concerned about.”

“Please pray that it will be determined to be necrosis (scar tissue from the radiation), and not another cancerous tumor,” Kay wrote in her e-mail. “It’s one of the two.”

Our thoughts are with the Murcers and those close to them.

Via Steve.
Posted by: Patrick
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From Alyson Footer:

One day after two top-ranking Congressional Committee members sent a letter to the Department of Justice asking it to determine if Roger Clemens committed perjury in sworn testimony, the FBI responded Thursday by launching an official investigation.

According an a report by The Associated Press, the FBI is looking into whether Clemens lied to Congress when he denied taking steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs.
Posted by: James
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Never to early to think about it...and might give you some names to keep an eye (for Yankee signing and fantasy purposes of course!) on as they head into their contract years so here's MLB Trade Rumor's list of 2009 free agents. Good job to them for putting together the players eligible for free agency after the 2008 season (and noting their ages and buyout numbers).
Posted by: Patrick
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From Barry M. Bloom:

The Congressional Committee that investigated the accuracy of the Mitchell Report on performance-enhancing drugs has sent a letter to the Department of Justice, asking that the top prosecuting arm in the U.S. determine whether Roger Clemens committed perjury in sworn testimony.

The top-ranking Committee members, Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Tom Davis (R-Va.), said in the letter that Clemens "committed perjury and made knowingly false statements during the Oversight and Government Reform Committee's investigation of the use of steroids and performance-enhancing drugs in professional baseball."

At the house.gov website, you can read the letter they sent requesting the investigation as well as an analysis of where they feel Clemens may have contradicted himself.

Via Peter Abraham.
Posted by: James
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Speaking of Baseball America and Jon Manuel, the guys at NoMaas were able to get an interview with Mr. Manuel and it's definitely worth the read.

Here's a highlight. Go check out the whole interview for more.

8) Just seeing images of Andrew Brackman at ST has us awed. Like you, we at NoMaas placed him in the Top-10 this year despite him undergoing major arm surgery. When talking to talent evaluators, what is/was the buzz about Brackman (not including the rumors of his injury), and what was it that led you to put him in the Top-10 in the end?

I've said many times, he had either the highest ceiling in the '07 draft class or the No. 2 ceiling behind David Price. That said, he got paid too much (whether they had to buy him out of the NBA or not, it was too much), and the other buzz always has been, is this guy going to be the kind of guy who thrives with this target on his back from this contract, in that media market? He seems to be a guy who does not want attention called to himself. That's the half-empty read on him. There are a lot of negatives if you want to nitpick. Bottom line is, he's got an 80 fastball and 70 breaking ball when he's right with sick athleticism and size that can't be taught. He's the classic high-risk, high-reward guy, and the Yankees really believe in him.
Posted by: Patrick
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Tyler Kepner has a feature on Phil Hughes and his blog.

“The fans are very important to me,” Hughes said. “Without them, I wouldn’t have a job, basically. I try to give back as much as I can. It’s almost a no-brainer.”

As a homegrown Yankee with talent, Hughes was bound to be popular. But his blog has forged an uncommon connection. A young medium has further endeared a young player to the fans.

Meanwhile, Lisa Kennelly discusses concern within the Yankee organization about this new fangled technology.

"We warn them about putting their private lives in the public arena," GM Brian Cashman said, "because it comes back to haunt you, depending on what you put out there."

And it's entirely possible, said Yankees director of media relations Jason Zillo, that in the very near future blogs could be banned for Yankee players. All it takes is one bad incident.

"It's a way to relate to your fans," Zillo said, "but you need to be hyper sensitive to the type of information you're putting out there and understand there can be ramifications."

The way to think of blogging and communicating online is also the way to think about communicating with the press... or anywhere. There are some things you don't say. That isn't just for blogging. If you don't want Phil Hughes saying something on his blog, you don't want him saying it to a reporter, right? So, it comes down to judgement and, I suppose, media training. But, to single out blogging or social networking as some sort of pariah isn't fair or wise.

I think Phil should keep doing what he's been doing. I have no concerns about it as a distraction - he can't be all baseball, all the time - and I enjoy reading it. If he enjoys providing it - rock on, I say.

Via Alex (who was quoted in Kepner's story) and Steve.

02/26: BA Top 100

Posted by: James
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As many other blogs have mentioned, BA came out with their top 100 today. As expected, Joba is very high (#3), followed by Jose Tabata (#37), Austin Jackson (#41), and IPK (#45).

I am pretty surprised about Alan Horne not making the top 100, especially with some of the guys on there but what're you gonna do. He was mentioned with a list of guys who just missed out though (subscription req). He was on 3 peoples lists with a high of being #68. Jeff Marquez made 2 lists with a 129 high and Jesus Montero got 3 mentions with an 81 high. A little surprised that Brackman didn't make it on any lists but that has more to do with his injury as less with his potential.

John Manuel hosted a chat later on and here are a few highlights:

Q: Jose Martinez from Suffolk County asks:
Fernando Martinez or Jose Tabata...which player makes their MLB debut first (and what year)?
A: John Manuel: Martinez should get there first but I see both getting there in '09, if things play out as scouts tell us they should. They both are bat-first guys when it's all said and done, and I think Martinez has a bit more offensive upside, but they are pretty close.

Q: bender from NC asks: Where would Brackman have been if healthy?
A: John Manuel: Ceiling-wise, he'd have to be top 10. That said, his career high in IP is 78, so he's a few years away from being big league ready not matter how high his ceiling is—and that would be assuming he was healthy.
Posted by: Patrick
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Update: Peter Abraham has a picture of a bit better quality. Thanks James. :)

Phil Hughes posted a blurry cell phone photo of Moose's fake window. If you look closely, propped against the left side of the fake window, you can see a picture of Joba, Ian, Shelley and Phil, dressed in their "Wizard of Oz" garb from the rookie hazing day last year.
Posted by: Patrick
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From Bryan Hoch:

Captain speaks out: Derek Jeter must have nothing to hide. Jeter told Bloomberg News on Sunday that not only is he not against conducting blood tests on players for banned substances, he doesn't think it's any invasion of a player's privacy, either.

"You can test for whatever you want to test for," the shortstop said. "We get pricked by needles anyway in Spring Training, so we have a lot of blood work to begin with."
Posted by: Patrick
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John Harper has a profile of Damon Oppenheimer, the Yankees vice president of scouting.

Damon Oppenheimer, the man most responsible for Joba Chamberlain and Ian Kennedy becoming Yankees, was sitting behind his desk recently, recalling the circumstances that allowed him to draft the two pitchers, when suddenly he felt compelled to issue a warning of sorts.

"I hope people realize this isn't the norm," he said, speaking of how quickly Chamberlain and Kennedy rose through the minor league system. "This isn't the way it's going to be every year. I hope everybody's not getting spoiled by this."

Via Steve.
Posted by: Patrick
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From Ken Davidoff:

Bob Sheppard, the Yankees' venerable public address announcer, recently signed a two-year extension. While he probably won't be ready for Opening Day -- last October's case of pneumonia took a great deal out of him -- Shepherd, believed to be 97, should return about two months into the regular season.

Via Ben>
Posted by: Patrick
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Peter Abraham reports on the (perhaps) new and improved Brian Bruney, who is sporting a leaner look and a better attitude. Time will tell, of course. But, let's hope it stays true.
Posted by: Patrick
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From Mark Feinsand:

Instead, he plans on playing shortstop through the final three years of his current contract, and on remaining there for however many years he plays beyond 2010.

"That's the plan," Jeter said. "I haven't really thought about how long I'm playing. I take it one year at a time; I don't sit down and say, 'Well, I hope I'm playing in two-thousand whatever.' It's a tough question, because I haven't really thought about it much."

When asked if he could see himself playing another position, he answered, "Right now? No." And that's fine with me. I don't know what people expect him to say, but I think some might read more into this than is necessary. All that matters is this year. This year, Jeter is playing short stop. He's been pretty consistent in that he doesn't look ahead that much.

It's about one moment at a time, one game at a time, one year at a time. So, right now, he doesn't see himself moving. But, that can change. Jeter answers questions in the now, for the most part, and he's a competitor. I don't know how you can expect him to say anything else at this point. In fact, some might be a little worried if he said something else. He doesn't know what's ahead, and no one does, but right now - he's the short stop.

Via Steve.
Posted by: James
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I swear, all I seem to post about are prospect lists! Still, when people put out solid, well-written analyses of the future Yankees, it's very hard to ignore. Today, we have a list from Pending Pinstripes where E.J. has done us all the favor of linking all the in-depth profiles the team over there have posted this offseason on one convenient page. He's got links to the Pending Pinstripes Community List, RAB's list, BA's list, etc. etc. so for one stop prospect love, head on over there. Good stuff guys.
Posted by: Patrick
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Between Kat O'Brien, Peter Abraham, Ed Price and Bryan Hoch, we can piece together a couple of funny stories coming out of the Yankees clubhouse in Tampa.

Mike Mussina didn't like the view right next to his locker, which was a cement wall. So, a poster of a boat on a lake was hung up on that very wall. Either clubhouse manager Lou Cucuzza or Moose put it up. Then, it seems Cucuzza stepped his game up, creating a faux window sill around the poster, complete with Yankee drapes (from K-Mart, according to Hoch). Thus, giving it the appearance of an actual window. Moose then joked that he'd put more pictures up.

The other story is about LaTroy Hawkins wearing a "Joba Rules" t-shirt around. Apparently, he doesn't much care for the Under Armor stuff that the team passes out and he wanted a cotton shirt. So, he went to the Steinbrenner Field team shop and picked up a "Joba Rules" one. Perry offers that Joba did a double take upon seeing his name and number on another player's back with Hawkins remarking, "That's what friends are for."
Posted by: Patrick
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From Jon Heyman:

Wang's reps emphasized his 19-win total two straight seasons. They also tried went a little nuts in the hearing room when they described him as "the Michael Jordan of Taiwan,'' and actually produced a graphic depicting how the Taiwanese stock market fluctuated on days he pitched.

As the arbitrators ruled: Who cares about that?

MLB is a $6-billion business, with only about $3 million of that coming from Taiwan. Besides, Wang makes millions in endorsements in Taiwan, separate and apart from his Yankees salary. The Yankees pointed that out, and predictably, Wang suffered a tough loss, a rarity for pitcher who normally enjoys incredible support from his team.

Via Ben.
Posted by: Patrick
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According to Peter Abraham, A-Rod said that Derek Jeter is going to have an MVP season. ""I think he’s going to have an explosive, monster season. I think he’s in great shape. I think he did some great things this winter with his workouts. I’m very excited for his year."
Posted by: James
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Mike A. over at RAB points out a little report that Baseball America put up last week ranking each farm system based on how close their prospects are to the majors. Their methodology for this is fairly interesting:

All that playing time doesn’t necessarily make the player more valuable; rather, it increases the certainty with which we can evaluate a player and forecast his future. That doesn’t mean Triple-A Red Sox outfielder Brandon Moss is a better prospect than low Class A Blue Jays outfielder Travis Snider because Moss is closer to the majors—it means there is more certainty to which we can predict the value that Moss will provide to a major league team.

And the closer a player is to the majors, the less there is that can go wrong in his career, be it injuries, on-field problems or issues away from the field. All that said, the idea of anything being “certain” in baseball is somewhat misleading; we’re talking in terms of degrees of confidence.

Interesting stuff. For what it's worth, the Yankees come in at #2 (the Dodgers at #1 which is to be expected).

Also, looking back over my posts, I don't know if I ever linked over to Mike A.'s Preseason Top 30. If I haven't, and you haven't checked it out, do so. I'd recommend starting out with the near-misses (where he explains his methodology as well) and then moving on to the main course. I'm always impressed with Mike's work and between him, Fabian over at RLYW and the team over at Pending Pinstripes (not to mention PinstripesPlus and the various forums around the web), Yankees prospect fans have an embarrassment of riches in terms of analysis.
Posted by: Patrick
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Satirical institution The Onion has an article on the Yankees upcoming exhibition game against the media. Good for some laughs. I like this part:

Despite only occurring once a year, the Yankees vs. Media game has spawned its share of memorable moments in past seasons, including Journal News beat writer Peter Abraham's walk-off home run off Mike Mussina in 2004, Carl Pavano's perfect game in 2005, and a bench-clearing brawl in 2006 that saw Gary Sheffield attack Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan and ESPN Page 2 pop-culture writer Bill Simmons, who lost four teeth and received a gaping head wound that needed 45 stitches to repair.
Posted by: Patrick
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Do you blog at a Yankees focused blog? Do you like fantasy baseball? If the answer to both questions is yes, you may be interested in joining the Yankees Bloggers Fantasy Baseball League.

We did this for the first time last year and it went well and everyone had fun (I think), so we decided to do it again. We just started up the league and already we have bloggers from My Baseball Bias, Pride of the Yankees, River Ave. Blues and Scott Proctor's Arm, in addition to YanksBlog.com, of course.

If you qualify and would like to join, please let me know and I'll get you the information.
Posted by: Patrick
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According to SI.com, Johnny Damon considered retiring during last year's spring training. "I was just exhausted ... Burnt out. [Retirement] definitely crossed my mind.''

Via Ben.
Posted by: Patrick
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A-Rod took his first press time at spring training as an opportunity to, once again, say that he has never used any PEDs. Recently, John Rocker had said that the Rangers organization had pulled him, Rafael Palmeiro, Pudge Rodriguez and A-Rod aside, when they were all in Texas, and told them how to use PEDs without hurting themselves. A-Rod denies this meeting too place. He also had some kind words for Pettitte.

Rodriguez also denied a claim last week by former Texas teammate John Rocker that doctors from management and the players’ association told A-Rod, Rafael Palmeiro, Ivan Rodriguez and Rocker following a spring training meeting how to effectively use steroids. Rodriguez and Rocker were with the Rangers in 2002.

“That did not happen,” A-Rod said. ...

“Andy is one of the greatest human beings I’ve ever met,” Rodriguez said. “I have two daughters—well, I have one and one on the way. If I had a daughter, I would want ‘em to marry Andy Pettitte. The age difference might be a little awkward, but in today’s day and age anything is possible.”

Via Steve.
Posted by: Seamus
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Tomorrow night I will be joining Aceman & the Kwass on The Sports Docket at 8:10 p.m. to talk about Andy Pettitte, Joe Girardi and the Joba Rules© among other things. It will be the third appearance by a YanksBlog.com member on the show and it's always gone well, so be sure to listen live here.
Posted by: James
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Project Prospect.com chimes in with their Top 150 Prospects list for 2008 and describes it as "the culmination of countless of hours worth of quantitative studies and other analysis'. It's definitely worth a look. Scouts Inc. had 4 Yanks in their top 100, BP's list had 5 Yankees in their top 100 and now these guys have five Yankees in their Top 100 as well (though maybe not all the guys you expect) and 7 total in the top 150.

5. Joba Chamberlain, RHP: His stuff may be better than Buchholz's; needs to prove himself as full-season starter, 22.3 (years old).
16. Ian Kennedy, RHP: Good bet to become a No. 2; induces soft contact; has found success everywhere, 23.1(highest placement I've ever seen Ian get).
33. Austin Jackson, CF: 2nd-half surge was no coincidence - learned to pull the ball; expect a breakout year, 21.0.
35. Jose Tabata, RF: More consistent but hasn't flashed as much power as Fernando; also broke hamate, 19.5.
70. Jesus Montero, C: $2.0 M Ven. signee was solid in 123 rookie PA; success could translate well to A-ball, 18.1 (first time I've seen him this high on a Top 100 list).
138. Andrew Brackman, RHP: 2nd-highest upside of any NCAA pitcher in '07 draft?; '07 TJ patient and still very raw, 22.2.
145. Alan Horne, RHP: Durability will decide if he's No. 5 or reliever; BB% rose every month from Apr. to Aug., 25.1 (really surprised to see him this low...and behind Brackman).
Posted by: Patrick
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GQ has a great interview with Hal Steinbrenner, what they call "his first major interview in twenty years".

Are you willing to concede that Boston, my favorite team, is the superior organization right now?
No, I will never concede. They’ve got a lot of talent, and you’ve done very well the past few years, but let me put it this way: I don’t think you guys wanted to play us in the ALCS. So I will concede nothing. I think we’re better than you.

Via the Post.
Posted by: Patrick
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Andy Pettitte spoke with the media today about a range of topics including, of course, his HGH use. You can watch the press conference and read his opening satement on MLB.com. Bryan Hoch has a summary.
Posted by: Patrick
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Our next interview is with Ken Davidoff, who blogs for Newsday at Baseball Insider.

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

To clarify, my job for Newsday is national baseball writer. My focus is not only the Yankees, but the Mets (I'm in Mets camp at the moment) and the rest of Major League Baseball. When I'm not working, I'm almost certainly spending time with my wife and son.

How long have you been blogging about the Yankees?

My blog - and again, it's about all of baseball, not just the Yankees - has been in existence since April 16, 2007.

» Read More

Posted by: Patrick
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Pedro Martinez helped Edwar Ramirez this offseason when both of them worked out in the Dominican Republic.

... Martinez took special interest in Ramirez after seeing him experience mixed results after his big league debut in July, even teaching him his own version of the cutter and tweaking his slider.

"He said that I have a very, very good changeup, and that he doesn't see too many changeups like that," Ramirez said. "But I have to throw my other pitches, because everybody knows that I have that changeup."
Posted by: Patrick
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Bryan Hoch reports that Andy Pettitte will address the media at 3:00 PM ET on Monday.
Posted by: Patrick
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This morning, I read (via Steve) of some of Joe Girardi's rules for spring training. One of them caught my eye. It was:

5. Only neatly cut beards, mustaches, goatees. No long hair or "unshaven looks."

This seemed kind of odd as the Yankees team facial hair policy (which I am personally a fan of), clean cut mustaches only, has been a long standing and, perhaps, infamous rule of the Steinbrenner era. So, I contacted the always helpful Peter Abraham to ask if he could verify it's accuracy. He told me that it was incorrect. According to him, the policy remains: mustaches only.
Posted by: Patrick
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Kat O'Brien tells of Joba's joking around with Mike Mussina. She says:

As Mussina walked out of the clubhouse, Chamberlain said something with no response from Mussina, then called out: "The hearing's the first thing to go when you get old, right?" Mussina popped back around the corner to say: "I hear everything you say. I hear everything you think."

Great quote. She also mentions that Moose has accepted the role of mentor to the young Yankee starters. His locker was already right next to Ian Kennedy's and, seeing as how he'll be talking about pitching with Ian, he asked for Phil's locker to be moved to the other side of him. By the next day, it was done.

"If I’m going to sit there and talk to Kennedy about pitching, it makes sense to have Hughes there, too," Mussina said, according to Mark Feinsand. Cool move by Moose.

Mussina gets his fair share of criticism at this stage of his career, but with all of the free agent busts that we've had in the last 10 years or so, I've always felt that he was one of the good ones. Sure, he may come off as a bit of a complainer at times, but he's come up in some huge spots (see: 2003 ALCS, game 7) and should make for a great mentor.

If Phil, Ian or Joba have the career that Mussina's had, they'll have done very, very well for themselves.

Via Andrew Fletcher.
Posted by: Patrick
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Bryan Hoch reports that the Yankees won their arbitration case with Chien-Ming Wang, meaning that he will earn $4 million dollars this year, as opposed to the $4.6 million that he was requesting.
Posted by: Patrick
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It was expected, but now it's official: the Yankees will rename Legends Field to George M. Steinbrenner Field.

"Speaking on behalf of the entire family, we couldn't be more pleased about the fact that Legends Field will now become George M. Steinbrenner Field," Hank and Hal Steinbrenner said in a statement. "We have been residents of Tampa for over 30 years, and we feel this is a terrific way to honor our father's longstanding philanthropic commitment to Tampa. Our father has always made clear how much he values Tampa's role in playing host to the New York Yankees' spring-training and the Tampa Yankees. The outpouring of community support for this name change has been wonderful to watch, and we're very grateful for the acknowledgement of his achievements and contributions it represents."

Mr. Steinbrenner weighed it, as well. "I am humbled and flattered to have this outstanding and totally unexpected honor conferred on me. I extend my thanks to the Tampa City Council and to the Hillsborough County Commissioners for passing resolutions suggesting and recommending the change," he said. "I also thank my family for supporting the renaming of the stadium and for everything they have done for so many years that helped bring about this great day."

Via ESPN.
Posted by: Patrick
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During yesterday's testimony by Brian McNamee, he said that, in 2000, David Cone sought him out at the back of the team plane, to ask for some advice.

Cone, McNamee alledges, told him that the owners didn't want tougher testing, but that they needed an excuse that they could go to the media with. He said that Cone wanted to see if McNamee could help come up with that excuse, but he was unable to.

Cone says that that never happened.

"I never said the owners didn't want to talk about drug testing. I would never say that," Cone said. "It wasn't my opinion that owners didn't want to drug test. And I would never discuss union issues with someone not in the union. And he was not in the union."
Posted by: Patrick
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So says Shelley Duncan on his own condition. Great way to put it.
Posted by: Patrick
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Peter Abraham reports that Andy Pettitte has been granted a request to report to camp on Monday instead of tomorrow.
Posted by: Patrick
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Today, Roger Clemens and Brian McNamee testified in front of congress. Buster Olney liveblogged it and has a nice summary of the events. ESPN has some videos and WCBS 880 has the audio in it's entirety. Over at house.gov, you can find documentation related to the hearing, including interviews, affidavits and photos of the physical evidence that Brian McNamee has turned over, among other things.

We learned a number of things today. The biggest things came in the revelations tied to Andy Pettitte's affidavit. In it, he states that Clemens told him that he used HGH, stating:

In 1999 or 2000, I had a conversation with Roger Clemens in which Roger told me that he had taken human growth hormone ("HGH"). This conversation occurred at his gym in Memorial, Texas. He did not tell me where he got the HGH or from whom, but he did tell me that it helped the body recover.

Pettitte also goes on to say:

In 2005, around the time of the Congressional hearings into the use of performance enhancing drugs in baseball, I had a conversation with Roger Clemens in Kissimmee, Florida. I asked him what he would say if asked by reporters if he ever used performance enhancing drugs. When he asked me what I meant, I reminded him that he had told me that he used HGH.

Roger responded by telling me that I must have misunderstood him; he claimed that he told me that it was his wife, Debbie, who used HGH.

I said, "Oh, okay," or words to that effect, not because I agreed, but because I wasn't going to argue with him.

Pettitte also admitted to using HGH in 2004 while with Houston. Pettitte's attorney says that he withheld this because he obtained the HGH from his father, who had obtained it for his own health issues.

Brian McNamee also admitted to lying several times to different parties in addition to receiving a PhD and representing himself as such, when it was later found that the place that he got it from was a diploma mill, something he agreed on, in testimony.

Reviews are mixed as far as the winners and losers. Really, all things considered, I think that there are no winners here. McNamee comes off as a liar - you simply cannot trust anything that he says. Yes, he was more able to give concise answers, but that's helped by the fact that his path is mostly set and he's not on the defensive here. Public opinion is in his favor, by all accounts I've seen and everyone already looks at him as the bad guy liar who helped players get steroids and he agrees.

I thought Clemens and co. handled themselves alright, given the circumstances, but the real problem comes with the introduction of the Pettitte statements. While not infallible, they represent a serious question mark for Clemens as does the fact that both Pettitte and Knoblauch confirmed what McNamee said.

Personally, I reserve judgement because I don't feel it's fair to ruin someone based upon the testimony of Brian McNamee. Pettitte says that Clemens admitted it to him, but Pettitte didn't back up McNamee in the sense that he actually saw it happen or saw McNamee do it. So, though a majority of fans may be ready with the torches and pitchforks, I'm not ready to do that. What I'm ready for, however, is some baseball.

Via Peter Abraham.
Posted by: Patrick
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I don't think this is a surprise expectation, because of what Pettitte's been dealing with this offseason, but Buster Olney reports:

Andy Pettitte no longer has to go to Washington, and instead, he is scheduled to report to the Yankees' training camp in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday. But staff members expect that Pettitte will be behind in his preparation for the 2008 season, because of the off-field issues that have dominated his offseason.

I'm not really concerned that Pettitte will be unable to get himself ready physically. I'm more concerned about what's going through his mind at this point as it's certainly been a trying offseason, self-inflicted or not.

Via Steve.
Posted by: Patrick
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Despite reports, Brian Cashman told Peter Abraham that nothing has been decided as far as Joba's role is concerned.
Posted by: Patrick
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Kevin Mench has signed a minor league deal with the Rangers.

Via Bryan Hoch.
Posted by: Patrick
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The Post, citing team officials, is reporting on this season's preferred plan for Joba.

Wang, Pettitte, Moose, Phil and Kennedy would be the rotation. Joba would start the season as the setup man. If all goes well, Chamberlain will be sent down to the minors in June, to prepare to become a starter in the second half. During the time at the beginning of the season, where Joba is a reliever, the team would be auditioning other pitchers in lower pressure situations, with the hope that some of them step up and can then fill the 8th inning role when Joba leaves.

The Yankees need to limit Joba's innings pitched and this plan would allow them to accomplish that.
Posted by: Patrick
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From Jim Baumbach and Robert E. Kessler:

The affidavit of Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte helps to support the account of Brian McNamee, Roger Clemens' former trainer, that he gave Clemens injections of banned drugs, according to a ranking member of the congressional committee investigating the use of illegal drugs in baseball.

Newsday.com first reported the story last night after interviewing Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) yesterday. Davis said that in an affidavit given to the House Oversight Committee, Pettitte's account matches McNamee's in most details, but that in a separate affidavit to the committee, Clemens said both are mistaken.

In related news, Pettitte will not testify publicly on Wednesday. Neither will Chuck Knoblauch or Kirk Radomski. All have been excused.
Posted by: Patrick
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The New York Times reports that Andy Pettitte has asked to be excused from the public hearing on Wednesday in Washington.

The chairman of the House Oversight Committee is supporting Andy Pettitte’s request not to have to testify publicly against his former teammate Roger Clemens at a public hearing on Wednesday, a congressional staff person said Monday.

The chairman, Democrat Henry A. Waxman of California, wants to take Pettitte off the witness list but he is consulting with Republican members of the panel first, said the person, who asked to remain anonymous because he was not authorized to speak publicly.

Via Ben.
Posted by: Patrick
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Bryan Hoch reports that the guest intructors at spring training this year include Yogi Berra, Howard "Hopalong" Cassady, Goose Gossage, Ron Guidry, Reggie Jackson, Hector Lopez, Tino Martinez, Stump Merrill and Graig Nettles.

02/11: Dave Eiland

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Anthony McCarron profiles new pitching coach Dave Eiland.

In his own career, Eiland says, he was nothing like The Big Three. "I didn't have an arm like Phil or Joba; I worked really hard to be mediocre," Eiland says. "But I studied. When I lay my head on my pillow, I'm very satisfied, not so much with my record or my numbers, but I know I gave it everything I had every day.

"I didn't have the God-given ability to get over the hump, so to speak. I kept getting chances because I did my work and I think that helps me in the coaching aspect. I work with guys now who have ability. I can teach them how to work, how to study film, how to read swings, how to attack guys."

Via Dave and Aziz.
Posted by: Patrick
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Jim Baumbach spoke with Mike Stanley about his unlucky comings and goings from the Bronx as well as what he's done since leaving the game.

All these years later, surely Yankees fans still hold Stanley in high regard, but his star has faded in the Bronx, probably because he was never part of a championship team. Reached during the week on his cell phone, Stanley said he absolutely loved his time as a Yankee, but he admits his unlucky timing still "just eats away at me." He said sometimes Yankees fans that he meets ask to see his World Series rings. Imagine how that makes him feel. "It's just such a sore subject with me," he said.

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

In a letter sent to Hardin on Sunday, Waxman expressed concern with Hardin's comments published in The New York Times. The attorney reportedly said that it would be "unbelievable" and "brazen" if a federal agent, Jeff Novitsky, attended a committee hearing scheduled for Wednesday.

The article also reported that Hardin said, "I can tell you this: If [Novitsky] ever messes with Roger, Roger will eat his lunch." ...

"If today's quotation is accurate, however, it goes beyond any personal enmity that exists between Roger Clemens and Mr. McNamee," Waxman wrote. "I do not know your intent in making this statement, but under one interpretation, it can be seen as an attempt to intimidate a federal law enforcement official in the performance of his official duties."
Posted by: Patrick
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Tom Singer and Brian Costello report on the news that the Clemens team has handed over evidence aimed at refuting one of Brian McNamee's claims in the Mitchell Report.

McNamee had told investigators that Clemens attended a party held by Jose Canseco, his teammate at that point, in Miami at Canseco's home. It is there, McNamee claimed the belief that Clemens and Canseco talked about steroids, with Clemens asking him about them for the first time, later on that same road trip.

Clemens has denied he even attended this party and claims to have been playing golf. The evidence comes in the form of video tapes of game broadcasts on June 9 and June 10 or 1998, where, according to Clemens' attorney Rusty Hardin, the broadcasters discuss the party and reference the fact that Clemens was not there and that one of them saw him on the golf course. Perhaps more interestingly, they also presented the committee with an affidavit from Jose Canseco, testifying to the fact that Clemens did not attend his party.

Hardin also stated that Clemens has the receipt from the golf course that day. The committee will be holding a hearing in Washington on Wednesday.
Posted by: Patrick
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The Yankees 40 man roster and non-roster invitees have been added to the official site. Phil Hughes has officially been given number 34.

Via Ben.
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From Bill Madden:

"As it turned out, it was just as well I didn't get (the Yankees) job," Mattingly - who last month had to withdraw as Joe Torre's batting coach with the Dodgers - told the Daily News at Mohegan Sun, where he was the honoree at the Connecticut Sports Foundation's annual cancer charity dinner. "That's because I would've had to walk away from it because of these issues."

Via Bryan Hoch.
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Peter Abraham reports that the Yankees and Chien-Ming Wang appear to be headed toward an arbitration hearing over the $600,000 difference between what the Yankees offered and what he is requesting.

Wangis asking for $4.6 million, while the Yankees offered an even $4 million. Brian Cashman told Abraham, "I expect there will be a hearing. There have been talks but they haven’t been productive." Abraham also notes that the last time the Yankees went to arbitration was in 2000 with Mariano Rivera, over a difference of $2 million ($9.2 and $7.2). The Yankees won that case.

This is definitely a little disappointing. I mean, money's money and you try to keep what you can, but I just hope that the Yankees offered to, at least, meet them in the middle and Wang's camp is holding out for a long term deal.
Posted by: Seamus
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Yep, the Yankees spent $40 million dollars on a baseball player who makes news by "playing catch." In other news, it appears that Bill Gates may have "bought something."

The article says that Pavano was able to throw a distance of up to 90 feet (oh my!) and that he actually "felt great." Now I have no idea what on Earth could actually make this guy feel great, but whatever it is, it's probably not a bad idea to send it along with a few million dollars to Seattle or some other club who needs a thinks-he-has-been.
Posted by: Patrick
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Sam Border has a profile of Phil Hughes. Very worthy of a read.

When he played on the freshman team at Foothill High School in Southern California, Hughes was the human equivalent of the strip at the top of the screen during baseball television broadcasts. His coaches would lean on the rail of the dugout and ask questions over their shoulders. "What did this guy do the last time up? Where's the play on a fly to right? Can this guy hit the breaking ball?" And Hughes would simply call out the answers, never taking his eyes from the field. He knew the scouting report on the next day's hitters, sure, but he also knew the exact cutoff machinations of the first and third basemen on a ball hit to the outfield.

Why?

"I don't really know," his father, Phil Sr., said. "He's just always been that way. He doesn't smile during games. It's just not the way he works. It's not the way he's ever worked."

Via Steve.
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You may remember that, back in September, the rookies on the Yankees roster dressed up as characters from The Wizard of Oz, as part of the annual rookie hazing. Watch below for video from that day as well as thoughts from Phil, Joba, Ian and Shelley.

Posted by: Patrick
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The AP reports that, according to a Tampa councilman, the Yankees are expected to change the name of Legends Field to honor George Steinbrenner.
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From Bryan Hoch:

His attorney, Rusty Hardin, said that Clemens had returned to Washington from Houston and planned to meet with as many representatives as possible during the visit. The 45-year-old hurler met with 12 congressmen on Thursday. ...

Clemens has tentatively scheduled five more meetings with representatives on Friday.

"He met with every member of Congress that was willing to meet with him. And they were wonderful and respectful," said Clemens' attorney, Lanny Breuer. "He answered every single question that was asked of him, and he did it directly and forthrightly."
Posted by: Patrick
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Peter Abraham has an informative post up on the new stadium, after he attended a media tour of it. They also have some pictures.
Posted by: Patrick
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In early January, we heard that Bob Sheppard was doing well and was on schedule to return to work this season. Unfortunately, it seems like things have taken a turn:

Bob Sheppard, the Yankees’ distinctive public-address announcer since 1951, who missed the division series last October because of a bronchial infection, “is struggling to recover his health,” a spokesman for the Yankees, Howard Rubenstein, said Wednesday.

The team “hopes he can return to the booth,” Rubenstein added.

The article also notes that Chris Sheppard, one of his sons, may be interested in taking the job, when his father does step aside. They'll be testing him out as the PA announcer during spring training. The man currently in line is Shepperd's normal backup, Jim Hall, who is the Giants PA announcer, a role that Shepperd used to hold.

Whatever happens, our thoughts are with those close to him.

Via Ben.
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John Filippelli, YES Network's president of production and programming, says that now that A-Rod is staying in New York, work on a Yankeeography has begun. He has arrived.
Posted by: James
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Nice little blurb in The Journal News about Melky's relief that he is still in NY.

"I was a little worried about getting traded because I wanted to stay with my teammates," Cabrera said through an interpreter last night at the Marriott Marquis, where he was among the honorees at the 28th annual Thurman Munson Awards, a dinner that benefits the AHRC NYC, which works with the developmentally disabled. "I'm really happy the trade didn't go through."

Well, it's good to hear that he wants to be here (and that he is helping out some good causes). Good for El Leche.
Posted by: Patrick
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From the Daily News:

Brian McNamee has turned over physical evidence to federal investigators that he believes will show Roger Clemens used performance-enhancing drugs, according to McNamee's lawyers.

"This is evidence the government has that we believe will corroborate Brian in every significant way," said McNamee lawyer Earl Ward.

McNamee's attorneys would not discuss the details of the evidence, but according to a source close to the former Yankee strength and conditioning coach, McNamee gave the Justice Department's BALCO investigators vials with traces of steroids and growth hormone, as well as blood-stained syringes and gauze pads that may contain the Rocket's DNA.
Posted by: Patrick
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The official site reports that the Yankees have Brian Bruney have agreed to a one year, $725,000 contract. They were scheduled to go to arbitration, with Bruney asking for $845,000 and the Yankees offering $640,000.
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From Bryan Hoch:

Appearing cool and collected, Clemens made a brief statement after exiting the closed-door meeting at 2:40 p.m. ET, declining to take questions from reporters.

"I just want to thank the committee, the staff that I just met with," Clemens said. "They were very courteous. It was great to be able to tell them what I've been saying all along -- that I never used steroids or [human] growth hormone. I look forward to being here, I guess, in this room next week."

Clemens entered Room 2154 of the Rayburn House Office Building at 9:25 a.m. ET, wearing a pinstriped gray suit, a pink dress shirt and red tie, clutching a cup of tea and sporting a close-cropped haircut. He was accompanied by two attorneys.
Posted by: Patrick
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Ed Price reports:

The Yankees have interest in free agent Kevin Mench as a fifth outfielder, according to a person with knowledge of discussions who asked not to be named because no deal has been struck.

Mench is a career .271 hitter with a .326 OBA and .465 SLG. In 101 games for the Brewers last season, he hit .267/.305/.441. He's spent nearly all of his career at the two corner outfield positions.
Posted by: Patrick
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Phil Hughes mentioned on his blog that he spoke with Sean Henn about taking his number 34. Henn agreed, but it's not official just yet.

Looking at the people who have worn the number, this is certainly one that Phil could make his own. Most notably, it's been worn by Mel Stottlemyre as a coach from 1996 through 2005 and Dick Howser as a coach from 1969 through 1978 and as a manager in 1980. Beyond that, it's mostly an assortment of players that didn't make much of an impact.

From 1980 through today, the players that have had the number include Dave LaRoche, Roy Smalley, Matt Keough, Scott Bradley, Ron Hassey, Doug Drabek, Mike Armstrong, Bob Davidson, Rich Dotson, Walt Terrell, Don Schulze, Pascual Perez, Mike Humphreys, Jerry Nielsen, Andy Cook, Sterling Hitchcock, Sam Militello, Greg Harris, Rob Murphy, Bob MacDonald, Jaret Wright and, of course, Mr. Henn. So, in the past 28 years, 22 players have held the number, as well as 1 manager (Howser) and 2 coaches (Stottlemyre and Mike Ferraro).
Posted by: Patrick
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Peter Abraham reports that Shelley Duncan has reported to spring training with his health issues sorted. Good to hear.
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Andy Pettitte met with a congressional committee today for 2 and 1/2 hours. And that's basically the whole story.

"At the committee's request, Andy Pettitte voluntarily met with representatives of the committee this morning, and fully answered all of the inquiries made of him in a sworn deposition," Pettitte's lawyers, Jay Reisinger and Thomas Farrell, said in a statement. "Out of respect for the sensitive nature of these proceedings, and out of deference to the committee's request for confidentiality, we, on behalf of Mr. Pettitte, will not comment on the nature or specifics of his testimony."
Posted by: Patrick
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From SI.com:

Andrew Brackman, the Yankees first round pick in the 2007 amateur draft, is throwing at 90 feet. The 6-foot-10, 240 pound right-hander from North Carolina State had elbow ligament replacement surgery last Aug. 24.

"It's feeling awesome," Brackman said.

Via Eric Schultz.
Posted by: James
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Great article in the Times today by Tyler Kepner on Brian Cashman and what the man goes through. Figure to see a lot more of these types of articles as the year goes on (unless Cash signs an extension of course).

“Just the nature of working here, day after day, it’s a huge grind,” Newman added. “There are tremendous stresses to deal with, and it can wear you out. Everybody needs to take a deep breath once in a while, take a step back and make sure they’re not going to burn out. But he knows the situation.”

Cashman started as an intern in the minor league and scouting department at 19, and he was 30 when he became the general manager. Only three other general managers who were on the job then are still in the same job now.
...
Pat Gillick, the Philadelphia Phillies’ general manager, once resigned as the Baltimore Orioles’ G.M. because of differences with the owner, Peter Angelos. Speaking generally, Gillick said, an owner who interferes with baseball decisions risks losing his best people.

“What it does is erode some of the confidence of the people working for you,” Gillick said. “There’s a chain of command and a code of conduct that has to be followed by every member of an organization. When that’s broken, it’s not good.”

Gillick said Cashman and Epstein probably had the most difficult job of any general manager, because their resources were so deep that they had more decisions to make. No situation can be immediately dismissed for financial reasons, so every available player must be evaluated.

Hat tip to Ben K. over at RAB for the link and also for a good follow-up on both the article and Brian Cashman. Check that out too.

02/01: More Top 100s

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Baseball Prospectus pops in with their Top 100 Prospects list for 2008. It was compiled by Kevin Goldstein after "months of research and analysis" . Unlike the Scouts Inc. list yesterday, BP's list has 5 Yankees on it (Alan Horne is on this list and not on the other one). Also, IPK is higher in this list and the Yankee outfield duo is quite a bit lower. Still, not too shabby.

4. Joba Chamberlain, rhp, Yankees
34. Ian Kennedy, rhp, Yankees
47. Austin Jackson, of, Yankees
48. Jose Tabata, of, Yankees
67. Alan Horne, rhp, Yankees