Via the Winston-Salem Journal, the AP is reporting that 2007 first round pick Andrew Brackman is scheduled to begin throwing from 90 feet next week. Brackman is right on target with the rehab schedule I explained in his Prospect Profile. It sucks having to wait a year to see your first rounder take part in game action, but trust me, it’s better than not having a first round pick all together. The AP piece also notes that Humberto Sanchez will start throwing off a mound next month, putting him on target for game action in May. · (14) ·
With Congressional grandstanding comes legal games.
Right now, Roger Clemens does not have to testify in front of Congress or agree to a deposition in front of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Henry Waxman and Co. have asked Clemens to cooperate, but Clemens would simply be granting Congress a favor in doing so. He has yet to be legally compelled to testify.
And guess what? It doesn’t sound like he’s too keen to come forward on his own. T.J. Quinn has the story:
After saying repeatedly that Roger Clemens will answer any questions Congress wants to ask him, a source familiar with the inquiry said Saturday night that attorney Rusty Hardin is hedging over the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s request to depose Clemens under oath next week because it might interfere with his defamation lawsuit against personal trainer Brian McNamee.
The source said Hardin is also making “noises” about not turning over a taped conversation between McNamee and two investigators for Hardin’s office recorded Dec. 12, the day before the Mitchell report was released.
Raise if your hand if you’re surprised. Exactly.
While tales of reported abscesses on Clemens’ buttocks may end up throwing McNamee’s credibility into doubt, I’m not at all surprised that Hardin would opt not to have Clemens testify in front of Congress. Our esteemed legislative body isn’t the tightest lipped organization, and Hardin wouldn’t want his legal strategy plastered all over the pages of the nation’s newspapers. On the surface, this does represent an about-face for Hardin who said that Clemens would definitely testify at a hearing, but a deposition may hold more legal weight.
Meanwhile, Quinn’s sources say that nothing has been decided yet. Clemens may yet agree to be deposed or Congress could resort to a subpoena. No one knows. For a change.
From the Canadian Press. Why they’re writing about the Yankees in January, I don’t know.
“I try to avoid the rumours best I can, but you eventually here it from friends, family and the whole deal,” Hughes said after working out Friday at the Yankees’ minor league complex. “You never want to hear your name out there, but on the other side, at least it’s good to know that other teams think highly of you. I wouldn’t say tough winter, but definitely an interesting one.”
That’s right; Phil Hughes is already in Florida working out at the Yankees’ minor league complex. That’s devotion, dedication and drive any Yankee fan has to love. The Press notes that Hughes wants to work off a mound before Feb. 14 and wants to get in “four or five bullpens.” And that is just one of the reasons why we love Phil Hughes.
Via Ken Rosenthal:
Another source, however, says the Yankees no longer are talking to the Twins about Santana and simply chose to keep their outfield intact rather than sign Cameron. Hank Steinbrenner has been the Yankees’ executive most adamant about landing Santana, but he seemingly has backed off in his most recent public comments.
That’s the clearest indication we’ve gotten so far that the Yanks are truly finished with the Twins and Johan Santana. But who knows what anonymous sources know? As nothing has happened lately and, by all accounts, the Yankee package — which the Twins don’t like — is of the table, I’m inclined to believe this. Maybe the Big Three will be saved after all. · (20) ·
Here’s an interesting story on an otherwise quiet Friday: Robin Ventura talks about his recovery from ankle transplant surgery. I didn’t know this at the time, but when Ventura was on the Yanks, he was playing on a severely damaged ankle. To repair the damage, doctors grafted a piece of bone into his ankle. It’s quite the tale of medical advances. · (5) ·
Of all the names in the Mitchell Report, two of the bigger stars named have remained fairly silent. Until today, no one had heard neither hide nor hair from Paul LoDuca or Chuck Knoblauch. But that changed when Knoblauch spokes to a Times reporter at his home in Houston.
The interview and Knoblauch’s words are more interesting for what he has to say about baseball than the Mitchell Report. To get the steroids stuff out of the way, Knoblauch, as Thayer Evans relates, called the report “interesting” and “crazy.” That about sums up this whole farce. “I have nothing to defend,” Knoblauch said. “I have nothing to hide at the same time.”
So that’s that. Believe what you want about Knoblauch.
More compelling are the indications that baseball still haunts. Chuck Knoblauch’s story in baseball had a sad ending. An offensive lynch pin on the Yankees for two seasons, he was seemingly destined for 3000 hits when in 2000, his third year in the Bronx but his second with throwing problems, he simply lost it. Suffering a meltdown that Rick Ankiel would imitate in 2001, Knoblauch simply could not throw the ball from second base to first base.
The Yankees tried to keep him around. He tried left field for a bit in 2001 and still managed to rack up 600 plate appearances. But his offensive production that season was abysmal. A 1-for-18 showing in the 2001 World Series punched his ticket out of New York. He would try to latch on with the Royals in 2002 and was out of baseball the following year. A promising career had been derailed by mental demons.
“I’ve got nothing to do with any of that, I mean, any baseball. And I don’t want anything to do with baseball,” he said to Evans.
Knoblauch doesn’t want a job in baseball; he doesn’t want a spot in the Hall of Fame; and as he asked the reporter not to tell anyone where he lives, he doesn’t want to be bothered. It’s sad really to see someone who was among the tops at his position fall so hard and so far so quickly.
Steve notes that Kevin Kennedy said that a colleague of his told Kennedy that he saw a member of the 2004 Red Sox shooting up with a needle full of performance-enhancing drugs. While that’s a lot of “he saids,” it’s also rather damning. Clearly, the Mitchell Report missed one, two or five hundred players. · (14) ·
Before I begin this exercise in What If? baseball history, let’s just remember that hindsight is always 20/20. When we look back in time and try to evaluate trades that weren’t made, it’s easy to do it sitting here in 2008. The trick is to put our selves in the shoes of those involved in the decision. In this case, that means hoping in a time machine and journeying to July 31, 1998.
It is July 31, 1998, and the Yankees are on a once-in-a-lifetime roll. The Yankees are 76-27 with a 15-game lead over the Red Sox. Since a 1-3 start, the team was a blistering 75-24. That just doesn’t happen.
But despite being prohibitive World Series favorites, the Yankees were always searching for ways to get better, and leading the charge was a rookie. General Manager Brian Cashman was in his first year as Yankee GM, and a series of moves and non-moves, beginning on that fateful night in July — the trade deadline — would impact the Yankees Dynasty up through the present day.
As site commenter Phil reminded us today, the Yankees were in the hunt for Randy Johnson. I had completely forgotten about these behind-the-scenes moves. But as RAB favorite and one-time Yankee beatwriter Buster Olney relates, the Yankees didn’t pull the trigger: