LET’S SKIP, LET’S HOP, LET’S GO WITH BRIAN TO THE BASEBALL’S DISCOUNT BASEMENT STORE

untitled (11) Come Yankees fans, come skip with me and I will take you to a wonderful place to be.  Let’s skip, hop or slide down the untitled (13) Yellow brick Road.  We will go to the untitled (5).  Yes The Sport’s Basement Store, where they are having a sale.  untitled (3) Yes fans, through Saturday, up to 20% off all Baseball players.  I only have so much to spend because of untitled (12) owner Hal.  He tells me how much I can spend.  Yes, that’s my idiot son, walking past my plaque.  Okay fans, what can we find in the Sport’s Basement.  We will look for a DH.  What’s that on the upper left hand shelf? untitled (3).  Look closely, it’s untitled (9) Travis Hafner.  Travis has a very close friend, untitled (5).  They trade DL stories.  Travis has not been as proficient at Nick being injured.  What’s the untitled (11)?  Just untitled (12) $2,000,000.00 for one year.  The fans are going to love Travis.  I know he will invite Yankees fans to visit him at the imagesCA3LYNNU NY HOSPITAL FOR BRITTLE BASEBALL PLAYERS. When you visit fans, you just don’t know who you might run into.  untitled (13).  EDB

Advertisements

DONT DRINK AND DRIVE: MARK GRACE ARESTED FOR DWI

Mark Grace sentenced to four months in jail for DUI

By | Big League Stew – 2 hours 11 minutes ago

(AP)Former major leaguer Mark Grace is going to jail for DUI.

Being sorry about his conduct did not get Grace out of having to serve time entirely for what was a second DUI arrest in a 15-month span. But his contrition, along with — probably — his popularity in the Phoenix community, might have saved him from a lengthy prison sentence.

Grace was sentenced to four months in jail after pleading guilty to DUI and endangerment in court Thursday. Via USA Today, here was his punishment:

[A] judge imposed a sentence that includes work-release jail time as well as three years of supervised probation. Additionally, an Interlock device must be installed in his vehicle for six months and he will need permission to travel out of state.

Grace had been facing several years in prison after being charged with four counts of aggravated DUI in August. His arrest also preceded the Arizona Diamondbacks firing him from his TV broadcasting job. At the moment, Grace doesn’t appear to be employed. But with baseball season coming up, perhaps that’s about to change.

Grace, whose career began with the Chicago Cubs in 1988 and peaked with the Arizona Diamondbacks when they won the 2001 World Series, was extremely popular with fans and teammates in both places. He’s not a Hall of Famer, but he had a terrific career (he’s 49th all-time in doubles) and produced a lot of good will along the way.

The judge at his sentencing seems to be giving Grace the benefit of the doubt that he won’t do it again, and that he’ll benefit society more by spending less time behind bars. Both have a chance to be true, but it’s unlikely that someone who doesn’t have an oversized likeness of himself running around Chase Field would catch such a break.

Grace had better make it work. Lives might depend on it. And not just his own.

EDB

WILL INJURY BE END OF A-STIFF

Will injury be end for A-Rod?

Ken Rosenthal joins FOX News to discuss the latest Alex Rodriguez accusations.

Ken Rosenthal joins FOX News to discuss the latest Alex Rodriguez accusations.
Share This Story

Updated Jan 30, 2013 4:21 PM ET
     

The Yankees probably cannot void Alex Rodriguez’s contract, and they might not even need to try.

 

COMING CLEAN

The Mitchell Report blew the lid off MLB’s steroid culture. See which players have admitted to PED use.

A-Rod might be voided by his own body.

Specifically, a doctor might determine that Rodriguez is suffering from a career-ending injury. In that event, A-Rod still would collect the $114 million remaining on his contract, even though he would never play again.

The scenario would not be the same as retirement — if Rodriguez retired, he would forfeit all of his money.

The Yankees, though, would be almost entirely free of their obligation — they would collect from insurance up to 85 percent of the money that Rodriguez is guaranteed, but only after he missed a full season, according to major-league sources.

I’m not suggesting insurance fraud, as some who read the initial version of this column believed. The Orioles collected insurance on Albert Belle when he was unable to play again due to a degenerative hip condition in 2001. Not an exact parallel, but certainly something of a precedent.

Rodriguez, 37, might be in better position to come back than Belle was; A-Rod’s orthopedist, Dr. Bryan Kelly, essentially said as much. But at Rodriguez’s age, with his injury history, who’s to say that he isn’t finished? And if he’s finished, he’s not committing fraud.

Harold Reynolds, an analyst on MLB Network, first suggested that Rodriguez’s career might end in such fashion after the Yankees announced in December that A-Rod would undergo his second hip surgery in four years.

 

All-time MLB home run list

DINGER KINGS

Check out where the greats rank on the all-time home run list.

On Tuesday, in the wake of an explosive Miami New Times report indicating that A-Rod used performance-enhancing drugs from 2009 to ’12, a high-ranking major league executive outlined the same plan.

A public relations firm for the New York Yankees third baseman issued a statement denying the allegations, but the matter remains under investigation by baseball and government agencies, according to sources and reports.

Rodriguez is not expected to return from surgery on his left hip until at least July. He underwent surgery on his right hip in March 2009. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman already has said that there is no guarantee that the third baseman will return this season.

The party line is that A-Rod will work his hardest to make a full recovery, just as he did after his previous surgery. But the landscape is different now — much different if Rodriguez indeed was using three substances banned by baseball, as shown by records obtained by the Miami New Times from Anthony Bosch’s anti-aging clinic.

The three substances are human growth hormone (HGH), synthetic testosterone and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). Baseball recently announced it will institute in-season testing for HGH and enhance its efforts to detect testosterone.

 

DESPICABLE ME

Is there an athlete more reviled than A-Rod? Check out our list of the top 10 most hated sports figures.

Now back to A-Rod’s escape hatch.

If Rodriguez used PEDs from ’09 to ’12 — after admitting that he used them from ’01 to ’03 — it would stand to reason that he is uncertain of his ability to perform without “assistance.”

Expanded testing, at least in theory, would make using PEDs a greater risk. Rodriguez also would face greater scrutiny, even ridicule, from fans and media. How eager would he be to return to such an environment, particularly if he had a fully paid out?

A-Rod certainly will attempt to go through his rehabilitation, but he may be physically unable to perform. A doctor surely could make such a diagnosis quite plausible, given the weakened condition of Rodriguez’s two hips.

A legal fight could ensue, with the insurance companies contending that either A) Rodriguez could still play or B) that his use of PEDs contributed to his physical deterioration. But good luck trying to win either case.

For the Yankees, there would be no better way out.

 

PRICEY ROSTERS

See which teams are shelling out the highest MLB payrolls in 2013.

The team can’t even discuss voiding A-Rod’s contract until after baseball completes its investigation of his link to Bosch. If discipline is warranted, it will be administered by baseball in the form of a suspension, not by the Yankees.

At that point, the Yankees could explore whether Rodriguez violated his contract, perhaps by lying to team doctors, perhaps by seeking outside medical care, perhaps by buying illegal substances. But they still would face an uphill fight in trying to void the deal, receiving significant pushback from the players union.

Better A-Rod should void himself.

Better for the Yankees, and maybe better for A-Rod, too.

EDB

YANKEES INTERESTED IN SIGNING TRAVIS HAFMER

Yankees Reportedly Interested In Signing Free-Agent Travis Hafner

January 30, 2013 2:44 PM

What’s with all the Ex untitled (5)

Travis Hafner (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Travis Hafner (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – It’s no secret that the Yankees could use some more power in their lineup.

The Bronx Bombers lost plenty of pop to free agency this offseason.

Nick Swisher — who hit 24 dingers last season — signed a lucrative deal with the Indians, and Raul Ibanez (19 homers), Russell Martin (21 homers) and Eric Chavez (16 homers) also left New York to sign elsewhere. Even Andruw Jones, who left the Bronx for Japan, belted 14 blasts off the bench.

And to top it all off, Alex Rodriguez is not expected to make his debut until after the All-Star break, and general manager Brian Cashman acknowledged that he might not play at all in 2013. A-Rod drilled 18 home runs in 122 games in 2012.

The Yankees made just one splash this offseason to bolster their offense, signing Kevin Youkilis to a one-year, $12 million contract. But the former Red Sox hero, who went deep 19 times last season, isn’t much of a power threat. Eduardo Nunez. who homered just once last season, is the projected Opening Day designated hitter.

So where do the Yankees turn now?

Well there isn’t much time left in the offseason, but some options still remain — albeit not optimal ones.

Travis Hafner is one of those options.

Multiple sources have reported that New York is interested in signing the 35-year-old free agent as the club looks to find a more suitable bat to serve as designated hitter. The Indians cut ties with the 10-year veteran in October, declining his $13 million option and instead paying a $2.75 million buyout.

Hafner was placed on the disabled list in May with a knee injury and then again in August with lower back inflammation. The 6-foot-3, 240-pounder played in just 66 games for Cleveland, batting .228 with 12 home runs and 34 RBIs.

Hafner is a lifetime .278 hitter with 201 home runs and 694 RBIs. His best season came in 2006, when he batted .308, jacked 42 home runs and had 117 RBIs.

Yes, but Travis is now 35 and has not had 500 or more a tbats since 2007.  The reason  are the Yankees are doing this is this:

untitled (6) imagesCAGSMY0A   They are getting Hafner

untitled (7) to replace, good old:

untitled (8)untitled (10)imagesCAUDQCCU  Saint Nick.  EDB

LATEST A-STIFF TROUBLES BOTHERING YANKEES

Latest A-Rod troubles have team frustrated

By RONALD BLUM (AP Sports Writer) | The Associated Press – 2 hours 12 min

Related Content

  • FILE - In this Oct. 14, 2012, file photo, New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez walks back to the dugout to get a new bat in the second inning of Game 2 of baseball's American League championship series against the Detroit Tigers in New York. When the Yankees re-signed Rodriguez in December 2007, they expected him to set home run records. Now some in the team's management hope he never plays again, so much of the $114 million he's still due can be covered by insurance. Not only is he injured, he's at the center of performance-enhancing drug use allegations.(AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)View PhotoFILE – In this Oct. 14, 2012, file photo, New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez walks back to the dugout to get a new bat in the second inning of Game 2 of …
  • FILE - In this Oct. 14, 2012, file photo, New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez reacts after striking out during the second inning of Game 2 of baseball's American League championship series against the Detroit Tigers in New York. When the Yankees re-signed Rodriguez in December 2007, they expected him to set home run records. Now some in the team's management hope he never plays again, so much of the $114 million he's still due can be covered by insurance. Not only is he injured, he's at the center of performance-enhancing drug use allegations. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)View PhotoFILE – In this Oct. 14, 2012, file photo, New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez reacts after striking out during the second inning of Game 2 of baseball’s American …

NEW YORK (AP) — Alex Rodriguez was speaking on a conference call.

”A huge debacle,” he said. ”Distasteful.”

That was on Dec. 13, 2007, when he re-signed with the New York Yankees and was discussing his decision 1 1/2 months earlier to become a free agent.

Now those words describe how some in the team’s front office feel about A-Rod’s $275 million, 10-year contract.

Once considered a player who could shatter the career home run record, Rodriguez has transformed from All-Star to annoyance for some in the Yankees organization. He hasn’t played a full season since he was voted his third AL MVP award in 2007, he’s out for at least the first half of this year following hip surgery on Jan. 16 and now he’s been accused of again receiving performance-enhancing drugs – an allegation he denies.

Even before the charges were published Tuesday by the alternative weekly Miami New Times along with accusations against Melky Cabrera, Nelson Cruz, Gio Gonzalez, Bartolo Colon and Yasmani Grandal, some Yankees executives were wishing Rodriguez would just go away. Speaking on condition of anonymity because the team isn’t publicly commenting on A-Rod’s latest troubles, they revealed their frustration with the slugger.

And they have a big incentive for A-Rod to disappear. If he doesn’t play again due to a career-ending injury, about 85 percent of the $114 million he’s owed by the team would be covered by insurance, according to one of the executives who spoke on condition of anonymity.

New York also might be able to free itself from having the $27.5 million average annual value of Rodriguez’s contract count in its luxury tax payroll in each of the next five seasons, a key factor as the Yankees try to get under the $189 million threshold in 2014.

If Rodriguez is on the disabled list, his contract is included. But if he’s on the voluntary retired list, it would not be part of the total.

And if the Yankees fall under that $189 million benchmark, their luxury tax rate would drop from its current 50 percent to 17.5 percent for 2015. That would give them far more flexibility to pursue pitchers Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez and Justin Verlander if they become free agents following the 2014 season.

New York is not likely to be able to void A-Rod’s deal. Baseball’s drug agreement between management and the players’ association specifies the commissioner’s office has all disciplinary authority for violations.

A-Rod’s poor health, however, may provide the path to savings for the team.

While Rodriguez rebounded from right hip surgery in March 2009 to help the Yankees to their first World Series title since 2000, Dr. Bryan Kelly said recovery from his operation on A-Rod’s left hip this month will be more complex if for no other reason than it receives more stress because Rodriguez is a right-handed hitter.

Even before the latest kerfuffle, A-Rod seemed to have worn out his welcome.

Yankees management tired of spotting him on the gossip pages with Madonna, Kate Hudson, Cameron Diaz and Torrie Wilson. They bristled when he was seen with a stripper in Toronto, at a swingers’ club in Dallas and at an illegal poker club in New York.

They made their displeasure public in 2010 when they said they never authorized Rodriguez to be treated by Dr. Anthony Galea, who said he prescribed anti-inflammatories to A-Rod following the first hip operation. Indicted in part for illegal possession of human growth hormone with intent to distribute, the Canadian doctor pleaded guilty in 2011 to one count of introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce with the intent to mislead a U.S. agency.

Then came last year’s playoffs, when Rodriguez was benched in three of nine games and pinch hit for in three others. He flirted with girls in the stands after he was removed from the AL championship series opener against Detroit.

Rodriguez’s 647 home runs are 115 shy of tying Barry Bonds’ career record but he has totaled just 34 the last two seasons and his 38th birthday is in late July. He has averaged 119 games, 21 homers and 81 RBIs over the last three years.

Before and after most games, when media is allowed to enter the Yankees’ clubhouse, Rodriguez spends little time at his locker in the back left of the oval room, not too far from the entrance to the inner sanctum that contains the players’ lounge, steam room, sauna, rubdown room, weight room, trainer’s room and swimming pool. He doesn’t have one of the prestige locations flanking the back entrance, held by Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano, who took over the spot when Jorge Posada retired.

He has never been accepted by Yankees’ fans the same way they adored Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada. And now, with his increasing tabloid notoriety and declining production, some of the team’s executives have concluded he’s more a handicap than a help as the team strives for World Series title No. 28.

STINK-ROD IS AT IT AGAIN! EDB

ANDY OUT OF WBC

Andy Pettitte out of WBC

Updated: January 30, 2013, 10:58 AM ET

ESPN.com news services

New York Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte will not play for Team USA in the upcoming World Baseball Classic, his agent, Jim Murray, confirmed.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman previously told MLB.com that Pettitte wouldn’t participate.

More On The Yankees

Want to get the scoop on everything in pinstripes? ESPNNewYork.com has you covered. Blog

The 40-year-old left-hander had shown interest in pitching for Team USA and former Yankees manager Joe Torre, but Torre said last week that the Yankees had expressed reservations due to Pettitte’s injury history, including a broken ankle suffered in June. He was out until September, finishing with a 5-4 record and 2.87 ERA.

Pettitte also told the Yankees he would not participate in the WBC, MLB.com previously reported.

Torre had said last week that he would make the final decision regarding Pettitte’s inclusion on the roster but indicated he would not pressure Pettitte or defy the Yankees.

“I’ll probably discuss it with the Yankees a little more just to see,” he said. “To me, the most important thing is to make everyone comfortable with what’s going on. I certainly don’t want to put any players in a stressful situation because that’s not what we’re doing here.”

Information from ESPNNewYork.com’s Wallace Matthews was used in this report.

 

EDB

ARE THE YANKEES DONE WITH A-STIFF?

Are the Yankees done with Alex Rodriguez?

Bob Nightengale. USA TODAY Sports11:23p.m. EST January 29, 2013

The New York Yankees, embarrassed by the latest charges against All-Star third baseman Alex Rodriguez, will explore the possibility of voiding Rodriguez’s contract or hope that Rodriguez simply retires, freeing up $114 million, according to a high-ranking Yankees executive.

The executive, who spoke to USA TODAY Sports on condition of anonymity because of the pending investigation, said the Yankees were surprised Tuesday by a Miami New Times report that Rodriguez purchased performance-enhancing drugs in 2009 and 2012 from a South Florida wellness clinic, Biogenesis, owned and operated by Anthony Bosch.

Major League Baseball plans to summon Rodriguez to its New York offices after it receives paperwork from Drug Enforcement Agency officials, according to a high-ranking baseball executive who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.

Rodriguez faces a possible 50-game suspension, which he could serve while still recovering from hip surgery, though he would lose about $9 million in salary.

REPORT: A-Rod, others linked to doping, Florida clinic

FORMER COMMISSIONER: MLB needs zero-tolerance drug policy

MORE: Can Yankees recoup cash, or dump A-Rod?

Once Rodriguez meets with MLB officials, the Yankees will examine their legal recourse and determine whether Rodriguez breached his contract, according to the Yankee executive.

The Yankees, according to the executive, could argue that Rodriguez violated a morals clause in his contract or perhaps lied about possible performance-enhancing drug use to team doctors.

Yet, there is no precedent for a team voiding a player’s contract because of performance-enhancing drug use. The Yankees unsuccessfully tried to void Jason Giambi’s contract in 2004 after he admitted steroid use to a San Francisco grand jury in the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative case. There’s also a clause in the Basic Agreement that prohibits clubs from unilaterally disciplining players for violations of the Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

“I don’t have an answer to whether the Yankees could do that,” former MLB Commissioner Fay Vincent told USA TODAY Sports. “The union will protect the player. Maybe the Yankees will get (to keep) their money, and the insurance company will fight it out with Rodriguez.”

The Yankees declined to comment publicly, issuing a release that said: “This matter is now in the hands of the Commissioner’s Office. We will have no further comment until that investigation has concluded.”

***

Denial from Rodriguez

Rodriguez, who has admitted to steroid use from 2001 to 2003 when he played for the Texas Rangers, vehemently denied the latest report that he was involved with the clinic, and released a statement through a public relations firm.

“The news report about a purported relationship between Alex Rodriguez and Anthony Bosch are not true,” the statement read. “Alex Rodriguez was not Mr. Bosch’s patient, he was never treated by him and he was never advised by him. The purported documents referenced in the story — at least as they relate to Alex Rodriguez — are not legitimate.”

It’s possible the Yankees and Rodriguez could part company simply in the aftermath of Rodriguez’s Jan. 16 hip surgery that’s expected to sideline him at least until July. The surgery was complicated, orthopedist Bryan Kelly said, repairing a torn labrum and reshaping the femoral head of his thigh bone.

Kelly anticipated a return in six months, but the injury is potentially career-threatening.

“You have to wonder what kind of effect steroid use would have on that,” Vincent told USA TODAY Sports. “I remember Dr. (Frank) Jobe once telling me that he operated on a pitcher’s shoulder or elbow. The whole thing had just deteriorated. It turned to mush. Dr. Jobe told me, ‘I’ve never seen that before.’

“Years later, there were reports that the same pitcher was involved with heavy steroid use.”

Kelly, when asked several times over the last month about Rodriguez’s injury, said he believed it was caused by congenital deformity, not steroid use.

If Rodriguez can’t play again because of the hip surgery, he still would receive the remaining $114 million over the next five years in his contract. Yet, the team has an insurance policy on Rodriguez, the Yankees executive said, that would reimburse the club for about $100 million.

The Yankees would have to release Rodriguez, and prove to the insurance company that he was physically unable to play.

***

Sinking statistics

Rodriguez’s career has been in decline for the last five years, with his slugging percentage plummeting each season. He hit a 18 homers with 57 RBI last season, and batted .120 in the playoffs without an extra-base hit or RBI.

He was benched in the American League Division Series against the Baltimore Orioles and the AL Championship Series against the Detroit Tigers.

Rodriguez, who has 647 career homers, has never failed a MLB drug test since they were implemented in 2004.

Yet he tested positive in anonymous survey testing in 2003, according to Sports Illustrated. Shortly after that came to light in 2009, he admitted his use of performance-enhancing drugs from 2001 to 2003.

He also was linked in 2010 to Canadian doctor Anthony Galea, who had been indicted on charges of distributing HGH to professional athletes. Galea said he treated Rodriguez with anti-inflammatory medication after Rodriguez’s 2009 hip surgery.

After his most recent hip surgery, Rodriguez was scheduled to return to the Yankees in July, a month in which he will turn 38.

“I don’t think we’ll ever know what steroids do to the human body, but we do know that with the money out there, it makes it so hard for these young kids to resist,” Vincent said.

Let’s hope the Yankees can get the stiff “out of here!”  EDB

 

5 BOMBERS WITH THE MOST TO GAIN THIS SPRING

New York Yankees: 5 Bombers with the Most to Gain in Spring Training

By

(Featured Columnist) on January 27, 2013

Hi-res-151230153_crop_650x440 Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

The countdown is on for spring training.

In just a few weeks, the New York Yankees will be reporting to Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida and prepare for the 2013 season.

Last year, the Yankees were able to hold off the Baltimore Orioles to win the American League East, then eliminated the same Orioles in the American League Division Series in five games, but were then swept by the Detroit Tigers in the American League Championship Series.

For Joe Girardi’s group, there will be some new faces and names you might see when the players report to Tampa.

Most of the regulars like Robinson Cano and Mark Teixeira will be looking to get the rust off their swings and get into baseball shape.

And then there are guys like Derek Jeter who will be playing for the first time since suffering a broken ankle in Game 1 of the ALCS back in October

And then there are those players who will be fighting for jobs and looking for a chance to make the roster.

For some, the spring is like their playoffs and World Series and will be going all out in order to make the team.

Which Yankees have the most to gain this spring?

Previous

2 of 7

Next
Hi-res-151230153_crop_650x440 Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

The countdown is on for spring training.

In just a few weeks, the New York Yankees will be reporting to Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida and prepare for the 2013 season.

Last year, the Yankees were able to hold off the Baltimore Orioles to win the American League East, then eliminated the same Orioles in the American League Division Series in five games, but were then swept by the Detroit Tigers in the American League Championship Series.

For Joe Girardi’s group, there will be some new faces and names you might see when the players report to Tampa.

Most of the regulars like Robinson Cano and Mark Teixeira will be looking to get the rust off their swings and get into baseball shape.

And then there are guys like Derek Jeter who will be playing for the first time since suffering a broken ankle in Game 1 of the ALCS back in October

And then there are those players who will be fighting for jobs and looking for a chance to make the roster.

For some, the spring is like their playoffs and World Series and will be going all out in order to make the team.

Which Yankees have the most to gain this spring?

Francisco Cervelli

Hi-res-122070916_display_image
Nick Laham/Getty Images

What a difference a year can make.

Last year, just as spring training ended, Francisco Cervelli was surprisingly sent down to Class-AAA and the Yankees acquired Chris Stewart to be the backup catcher.

For most of the spring, everyone thought Cervelli would be the backup to Russell Martin, but instead, he spent most of the 2012 season in the minors.

Now, one year later, Cervelli has the chance to win the starting catching job for the Yankees.

With Martin now catching for the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Yankees will have a competition this spring for the job vacated by Martin.

Along with Cervelli is Stewart, former Angels backstop Bobby Wilson and Austin Romine.

Romine is expected to start the season in Class-AAA, so that leaves the other three with the chance to be the everyday starter.

Of those three, I think Cervelli would have the best chance to be the everyday starter, although honestly, Cervelli is best suited as a backup due to his lack of power.

But hey, maybe he’ll prove a lot of people wrong and do some damage down in Tampa that wins him the job.

Matt Diaz

Hi-res-146595099_display_image
Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

The Yankees still have yet to officially fill their fourth outfield spot.

The team did sign former Atlanta Braves outfielder Matt Diaz to a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training.

Diaz has a chance to win a roster spot that was vacated with Nick Swisher, Raul Ibanez and Andruw Jones’ departures, all outfielders who started quite a bit for the Yankees in 2012.

In 2012, Diaz played in just 51 games for the Braves and hit just .222 with two home runs and 13 RBI. Diaz missed time during the season because of thumb surgery

His best season was back in 2009 when he hit .313 with 13 home runs and 58 RBI while playing in 125 games for the Braves.

By the time spring training gets going, Diaz, who will have just turned 35 years old, is coming off a surgery that could affect the way he handles a bat, so this could very well be one of his last chances to make a roster.

If Diaz makes the most of his spring, he could see quite a bit of time and be used a lot in pinch-hitting situations and games where a lefty is starting.

David Aardsma

Hi-res-6613084_display_image
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

In 2012, David Aardsma pitched for the first time in over two years.

Aardsma, who once was a very good closer with the Seattle Mariners, missed a lot of time due to having Tommy John Surgery and spent most of 2011 and 2012 recovering.

The Yankees signed him to a deal before 2012 that was going to be centered around him playing in 2013, which is exactly what he will do.

With the loss of Rafael Soriano to the bullpen, Aardsma has a chance to show Joe Girardi and pitching coach Larry Rothschild that Soriano’s presence won’t be missed at all.

Back in 2009 and 2010, Aardsma was a solid closer in Seattle who saved 69 games with an ERA that ranged between 2.52 and 3.44 during that time.

If Aardsma can pitch anywhere near that kind of level, then the Yankees bullpen just got even stronger.

With Mariano Rivera back as the closer and David Robertson as their setup man, Aardsma could be the Yankees seventh inning guy along with Joba Chamberlain and really shorten games for the Bombers.

What Aardsma needs to do is use the spring to work the kinks out, as he was barely used in the 2012 season, pitching in just one game and working one inning.

David Phelps

Hi-res-154246959_display_image
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

In 2012, David Phelps made a decent name for himself pitching both in the rotation and out of the bullpen.

He posted a 4-4 record with a 3.32 ERA in 99.2 innings for the Yankees, although he did struggle in the postseason with an 0-2 record and a 8.10 ERA.

Now in his second year, Phelps is basically the pitcher on the bubble when it comes to the Yankees rotation.

If there is an injury to any of the starters, Phelps will likely be the first fill-in for that spot.

But what Phelps needs to do is come out in the spring and fire on all cylinders.

Phelps needs to be lights-out for the Yankees and give Ivan Nova a run for his No. 5 starter spot in the rotation.

In all likelihood, Phelps will begin the season as the team’s long reliever and spot starter.

But don’t be surprised if he gets more chances to start games for the Bombers and flourishes in those opportunities.

Eduardo Nunez

Hi-res-152090679_display_image
Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

Of all the players who have the most to gain this spring, Eduardo Nunez has a glaring opportunity to make the most of his chance.

Alex Rodriguez is out for at least six months while recovering from hip surgery and his return date is no guarantee in 2013.

The team brought in longtime Red Sox first/third basemen Kevin Youkilis, and he will be an everyday player for the Bombers.

What Nunez needs to do is show the team he has improved in the field and deserves a chance to play everyday.

If in fact Nunez can be a steady fielder and not be a liability every time he’s playing, he could be an everyday player.

We know he has a decent bat, but his glove is what has been holding him back and has kept him from reaching his full potential.

But if Nunez can get it together and use the spring to show the Yankees that he can be an everyday fielder, he could in fact start the season at third base and Youkilis could be used as the DH.

At 34 years old, Youkilis might be able to stay healthy if he gets used more often as the DH, while the younger Nunez plays in the field everyday.

Or, if the team needs to rest Derek Jeter or give him a day to DH, Nunez can also be their backup shortstop if needed.

These situations all depend on Nunez and his progress, which will be determined by how much he impresses the Yankees coaching staff down in Tampa.

EDB

A-STIFF IMPLICATED IN DRUG USE AGAIN

A-Rod implicated in PED use again as MLB probes

By RONALD BLUM (AP Sports Writer) | The Associated Press – 3 hours ago

 

  • FILE - In this Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012 file photo, New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez takes batting practice before Game 4 of the American League championship series against the Detroit Tigers, in Detroit. Major League Baseball says it is "extremely disappointed" about a new report that says records from an anti-aging clinic in the Miami area link Rodriguez and other players to the purchase of performance-enhancing drugs. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)View PhotoFILE – In this Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012 file photo, New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez takes batting practice before Game 4 of the American League championship …
  • FILE - In this Oct. 18, 2012 file photo, New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez prepares to hit in the sixth inning during Game 4 of the American League championship series against the Detroit Tigers in Detroit. Major League Baseball says it is "extremely disappointed" about a new report that says records from an anti-aging clinic in the Miami area link Rodriguez and other players to the purchase of performance-enhancing drugs. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)View PhotoFILE – In this Oct. 18, 2012 file photo, New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez prepares to hit in the sixth inning during Game 4 of the American League championship …

NEW YORK (AP) — Alex Rodriguez was ensnared in a doping investigation once again Tuesday when an alternative weekly newspaper reported baseball’s highest-paid star was among a half-dozen players listed in records of a Florida clinic the paper said sold performance-enhancing drugs.

The Miami New Times said the three-time AL MVP bought human growth hormone and other performance-enhancing substances during 2009-12 from Biogenesis of America LLC, a now-closed anti-aging clinic in Coral Cables, Fla., near Rodriguez’s offseason home.

The new public relations firm for the New York Yankees third baseman issued a statement denying the allegations.

The newspaper said it obtained records detailing purchases by Rodriguez, 2012 All-Star game MVP Melky Cabrera, 2005 AL Cy Young Award winner Bartolo Colon and 2011 AL championship series MVP Nelson Cruz of Texas.

Cabrera left San Francisco after the season to sign with Toronto, while Oakland re-signed Colon.

Other baseball players the newspaper said appeared in the records include Washington pitcher Gio Gonzalez, who finished third in last year’s NL Cy Young Award voting, and San Diego catcher Yasmani Grandal.

Biogenesis, which the New Times said was run by Anthony Bosch, was located in a beige, nondescript office park. The former clinic is no longer listed as a business in its directory,

”There was a flier put out by the building management a couple weeks ago. It was put on all the doors and windows of all the offices,” said Brad Nickel, who works in a group cruise planning company on the floor above where the clinic was located. ”It just said this guy’s not really a doctor, he doesn’t belong here, he’s no longer allowed here, call the police or the building management if you see him.”

David Sierra, who works in his aunt’s real estate office in the same building, kept a picture of the flier on his iPhone. He recognized the doctor in the picture from passing him in the hallway.

Sierra said while he never recognized any of the clients at the clinic, ”there were always really nice cars in front – I’m not talking just Mercedes. Range Rovers, Bentleys.”

The New Times posted copies of what it said were Bosch’s handwritten records, obtained through a former Biogenesis employee it did not identify.

Bosch’s lawyer, Susy Ribero-Ayala, said in a statement the New Times report ”is filled with inaccuracies, innuendo and misstatements of fact.”

”Mr. Bosch vehemently denies the assertions that MLB players such as Alex Rodriguez and Gio Gonzalez were treated by or associated with him,” she said.

Rodriguez appears 16 times in the documents New Times received, the paper said, either as ”Alex Rodriguez,” ”Alex Rod” or the nickname ”Cacique,” a pre-Columbian Caribbean chief.

Rodriguez admitted four years ago that he used PEDs from 2001-03. Cabrera, Colon and Grandal were suspended for 50 games each last year by MLB following tests for elevated testosterone. Responding to the testosterone use, MLB and the players’ union said Jan. 10 they were authorizing the World Anti-Doping Agency laboratory outside Montreal to store each major leaguer’s baseline testosterone/epitestosterone (T/E) ratio in order to detect abnormalities.

”We are always extremely disappointed to learn of potential links between players and the use of performance-enhancing substances,” MLB said in a statement. ”Only law enforcement officials have the capacity to reach those outside the game who are involved in the distribution of illegal performance-enhancing drugs. … We are in the midst of an active investigation and are gathering and reviewing information.”

A baseball official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to make public statements, said Monday that MLB did not have any documentation regarding the allegations. If MLB does obtain evidence, the players could be subject to discipline. First offenses result in a 50-game suspension and second infractions in 100-game penalties. A third violation results in a lifetime ban.

Rodriguez is sidelined for at least the first half of the season after hip surgery Jan. 16. A 50-game suspension would cost him $7.65 million of his $28 million salary.

”The news report about a purported relationship between Alex Rodriguez and Anthony Bosch are not true,” Rodriguez said in a statement issued by a publicist. ”He was not Mr. Bosch’s patient, he was never treated by him and he was never advised by him. The purported documents referenced in the story – at least as they relate to Alex Rodriguez – are not legitimate.”

Jay Reisinger, a lawyer who has represented Rodriguez in recent years, said the three-time AL MVP had retained Roy Black, an attorney from Rodriguez’s hometown of Miami. Black’s clients have included Rush Limbaugh and William Kennedy Smith.

Bosch did not return a phone message seeking comment.

MLB hopes to gain the cooperation of Bosch and others connected with the clinic, another baseball official said, also on condition of anonymity because no public statements on the matter were authorized. In order to successfully discipline players based on the records, witnesses would be needed to authenticate them, the official said.

Players could be asked to appear before MLB for interviews, but the official said MLB would be reluctant to request interviews before it has more evidence.

Rodriguez spent years denying he used PEDs before Sports Illustrated reported in February 2009 that he tested positive for two steroids in MLB’s anonymous survey while with the Texas Rangers in 2003. Two days later, he admitted in an ESPN interview that he used PEDs over a three-year period. He has denied using PEDs after 2003.

If the new allegations were true, the Yankees would face high hurdles to get out of the final five years and $114 million of Rodriguez’s record $275 million, 10-year contract. Because management and the players’ union have a joint drug agreement, an arbitrator could determine that any action taken by the team amounted to multiple punishments for the same offense.

But if Rodriguez were to end his career because of the injury, about 85 percent of the money owed by the Yankees would be covered by insurance, one of the baseball officials said.

The Yankees said ”this matter is now in the hands of the commissioner’s office” and said they will not comment further until MLB’s investigation ends.

Gonzalez, 21-8 for the Washington Nationals last season, posted on his Twitter feed: ”I’ve never used performance enhancing drugs of any kind and I never will, I’ve never met or spoken with tony Bosch or used any substance provided by him. anything said to the contrary is a lie.”

Colon was not issuing a statement, agent Adam Katz said through spokeswoman Lisa Cohen.

”We are aware of certain allegations and inferences,” Cruz’s law firm, Farrell & Reisinger, said in a statement. ”To the extent these allegations and inferences refer to Nelson, they are denied.”

Sam and Seth Levinson, the agents for Cabrera, Cruz and Gonzalez, did not respond to emails seeking comment. Greg Genske, Grandal’s agent, also did not reply to an email.

Cruz and Gonzalez had not previously been linked to performance-enhancing drugs. Cruz hit 24 home runs last year for the Texas Rangers, who says they notified MLB last week after being contacted by the New Times.

The New Times report said it obtained notes by Bosch listing the players’ names and the substances they received. Several unidentified employees and clients confirmed to the publication that the clinic distributed the substances, the paper said. The employees said that Bosch bragged of supplying drugs to professional athletes but that they never saw the sports stars in the office.

The paper said the records list that Rodriguez paid for HGH; testosterone cream; IGF-1, a substance banned by baseball that stimulates insulin production; and GHRP, which releases growth hormones.

Rodriguez’s cousin, Yuri Sucart, also is listed as having purchased HGH. Sucart was banned from the Yankees clubhouse, charter flights, bus and other team-related activities by MLB in 2009 after Rodriguez said Sucart obtained and injected PEDs for him.

Also listed among the records, according to the New Times, are tennis player Wayne Odesnik, Cuban boxer Yuriorkis Gamboa and Jimmy Goins, the strength and conditioning coach of the University of Miami baseball team.

Odesnik, who lost in the first round of qualifying for this year’s Australian Open, is a former top-100 player who was suspended by the International Tennis Federation after Australian customs officers found eight vials containing HGH in his luggage when he arrived in that country ahead of a January 2010 tournament. He denied using HGH and never tested positive for it. What originally was a two-year ban was cut in half because the ITF said Odesnik cooperated with its anti-doping program.

”The statement about Wayne’s relationship with Mr. Bosch is completely false, and Wayne has contacted the reporter and newspaper for a retraction,” the tennis player’s mother, Janice Odesnik, wrote in an email to The Associated Press.

Mia Ro, a spokeswoman for the federal Drug Enforcement Administration in Miami, said she could not confirm or deny the existence of an investigation into Bosch or the clinic.

The University of Miami said it was conducting ”an intensive review” of the matter but did not identify Goins by name.

Goins was ”very surprised” to learn of the allegations raised by the New Times, according to a statement from Michelle A. White, of the Coral Gables law firm of Fenderson & Hampton, which said it was representing him.

White would not comment on whether Goins was a patient of Bosch but added that Goins ”has done nothing improper either personally or as a representative of the University of Miami,” and denies any allegation or inference of wrongdoing.

Each and every A-Stiff article about his PED use, must be included.  EDB

ALEX DENIES PED ALLEGATIONS…YOU MUST BELIEVE HIM

Alex Rodriguez Heads List of MLB Stars Linked to Miami PED Clinic in Report

By

(Featured Columnist) on January 29, 2013

Screenshot2013-01-29at10

The Miami New Times may have uncovered the East Coast version of BALCO—the California lab that supplied performance-enhancing drugs to several high-profile athletes, including some of the biggest names in baseball.

New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz, Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez, Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Melky Cabrera and Oakland Athletics pitcher Bartolo Colon are among a group of players that have been linked to Biogenesis, a Miami-based clinic that reportedly sold performance-enhancing drugs.

Rodriguez is planning to issue a statement on the situation, which Joel Sherman of the New York Post was able to see and post (via Hardball Talk), denying that he had any sort of relationship or involvement with Bosch.

The news report about a purported relationship between Alex Rodriguez and Anthony Bosch are not true. Alex Rodriguez was not Mr. Bosch’s patient, he was never treated by him and he was never advised by him. The purported documents referenced in the story — at least as they relate to Alex Rodriguez — are not legitimate.

The New York Yankees have also issued a statement about A-Rod’s inclusion in the report, declining to comment pending the conclusion of an official investigation (via Mike Mazzeo of ESPNNewYork.com).

The clinic, reportedly run by entrepreneur Anthony Bosch, closed in December. Bosch is said to have disappeared shortly thereafter. The report notes that Bosch has an extensive history with steroids.

The son of a prominent Coral Gables physician named Pedro Publio Bosch, he was connected with banned substances when slugger Manny Ramirez was suspended for violating Major League Baseball’s drug policy in 2009. At the time, MLB confirmed the Drug Enforcement Administration was probing the father and son for allegedly providing Ramirez with HCG, a compound often used at the tail end of steroid cycles.

Bosch was never charged with any crime, and the New Times says that its attempts to reach the athletes named in the article were declined.

We already knew that Rodriguez had a history with performance-enhancing drugs. He admitted as much in an interview with Peter Gammons prior to the start of the 2009 season.

 

Hi-res-6652994_crop_exact The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

During his admission, though, A-Rod claimed that he has not used PEDs since the 2003 season. The New Times report contradicts this claim:

Yet there was his name, over and over again, logged as either “Alex Rodriguez,” “Alex Rod,” or his nickname at the clinic, “Cacique,” a pre-Columbian Caribbean chief. Rodriguez’s name appears 16 times throughout the records New Times reviewed.

Take, for instance, one patient list from Bosch’s 2009 personal notebook. It charts more than 50 clients and notes whether they received their drugs by delivery or in the office, how much they paid, and what they were taking.

There, at number seven on the list, is Alex Rodriguez. He paid $3,500, Bosch notes. Below that, he writes, “1.5/1.5 HGH (sports perf.) creams test., glut., MIC, supplement, sports perf. Diet.” HGH, of course, is banned in baseball, as are testosterone creams.

And a few paragraphs later:

The mentions of Rodriguez begin in 2009 and continue all the way through last season. Take a page in another notebook, which is labeled “2012” and looks to have been written last spring. Under the heading “A-Rod/Cacique,” Bosch writes, “He is paid through April 30th. He will owe May 1 $4,000… I need to see him between April 13-19, deliver troches, pink cream, and… May meds. Has three weeks of Sub-Q (as of April).”

Melky Cabrera was suspended for 50 games last August when he tested positive for testosterone, missing out on the San Francisco Giants’ run to the World Series.

San Diego Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal, who is also named in the report, is suspended for the first 50 games of the 2013 season after testing positive for testosterone.

The Nats’ Gonzalez has never tested positive for PEDs. His father, Max, told the New Times he was the one that got in touch with Bosch in an effort to lose weight.

Hi-res-6587518_crop_exact Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

“My son works very, very hard, and he’s as clean as apple pie,” the elder Gonzalez says. “I went to Tony because I needed to lose weight. A friend recommended him, and he did great work for me. But that’s it. He never met my son. Never. And if I knew he was doing these things with steroids, do you think I’d be dumb enough to go there?”

Gonzalez has also released a statement on his own behalf denying any involvement with Bosch.

According to Mike Fish and T.J. Quinn of ESPN.com, the league is currently investigating Bosch and Biogenesis, but whether MLB takes action regarding the specific players implicated in the report remains to be seen.

A league official reportedly told Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports that some of the players involved could face a 50-game suspension despite never having tested positive for PEDs, which does have some precedence. Back in 2006, MLB suspended pitcher Jason Grimsley for 50 games after federal investigators discovered he was having packages of HGH, steroids and amphetamines sent to his home.

Whether these players are ultimately found to be guilty or innocent, there is no denying the magnitude of this report. Expect Bosch and Biogenesis to remain in the news leading up to the 2013 MLB season.

EDB