After talk, MLB ‘very happy’ with A-Rod

A-Rod tees off during Friday\’s Grapefruit League action. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)

Although Alex Rodriguez never had an opportunity during Spring Training to meet with the feds investigation Anthony Galea, the Yanks’ third baseman did speak with Major League Baseball’s own investigators late last week. According to subsequent reports, MLB officials were, in the words of A-Rod, “very happy” with his answers.

Michael S. Schmidt of The Times reports that A-Rod denied receiving any performance-enhancing drugs from Dr. Galea. Rodriguez says he received anti-inflammatories for his hip from Galea but did nothing illegal. “It went well,” A-Rod said to reporters. “I cooperated. They were very happy. And that’s it. I can’t really get into it that much.”

Meanwhile, A-Rod’s meeting with the feds may finally happen this week, the Daily News reports. Originally scheduled for Thursday, the meeting was postponed when A-Rod’s lawyers requested an extension. They wanted to avoid a media scrum in Buffalo. Yankee and MLB officials, however, would prefer to see this interview over and done with, and there’s an outside chance that the feds will accept notes from A-Rod’s meeting with MLB in lieu of a statement from A-Rod himself.

As various news outlets have reported, the Yankees have been less than thrilled with A-Rod for his connection to Galea. Both the team and Marc Philippon, the doctor who preformed A-Rod’s hip surgery last spring, say they never gave Galea the OK to treat Rodriguez, and A-Rod apparently went to the Canadian doctor himself.

The Yankees have two days off this week, and hopefully, the government can find the time for A-Rod then. I want to be optimistic and say that once A-Rod meets with the feds as a witness, this will be the last we hear of Galea this year. With A-Rod, though, you just never know.

Open Thread: The 2010 New York Yankees

Here’s the 25-man Opening Day roster…

Jorge Posada
Frankie Cervelli

Mark Teixeira
Robinson Cano
Derek Jeter
Alex Rodriguez
Nick Johnson
Ramiro Pena

Brett Gardner
Curtis Granderson
Nick Swisher
Randy Winn
Marcus Thames

Starting Pitchers
CC Sabathia
A.J. Burnett
Andy Pettitte
Javy Vazquez
Phil Hughes

Mariano Rivera
Joba Chamberlain
Damaso Marte
Sergio Mitre
Al Aceves
David Robertson
Chan Ho Park

The exhibition season is over, the team is heading up to Boston, and tomorrow night the grind begins. I can’t wait.

* * *

Here’s the open thread for the night. The Islanders already won, but the Devils, Rangers, and Nets are all in action. That Rangers’ game is another one with major playoff implications. Talk about whatever you want, but make it count, this is the last open thread of the 2009-2010 offseason.

Spring Training Health Report: Everyone’s okay

The Yankees suffered a rash of minor injuries in the final week of camp, but they’ll have everyone available when the season begins tomorrow night. To put it succinctly, Jorge Posada‘s stiff neck is fine, Nick Johnson‘s bruised knee is better, Damaso Marte‘s shoulder isn’t cranky, and Al Aceves lower back is a-okay. Frankie Cervelli‘s sore hamstring is good to go as well, and he’ll be available off the bench. Thankfully everyone’s healthy, and the Yanks can start the season with everyone intact.

2010 Draft: Paxton lands in Grand Prairie

Via Baseball America, former University of Kentucky southpaw James Paxton has signed on with the Grand Prairie Air Hogs of the independent American Association. Paxton was ruled ineligible for his senior season after the NCAA found out that he used an agent (Scott Boras) to negotiate with the Blue Jays last summer when they made him the 37th overall pick. He’ll get about three weeks to show off his stuff to scouts before the draft in June.  I mentioned Paxton as a player the Yanks could target with their first round pick a few weeks ago.

Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Paxton’s manager at Grand Prairie will be former Yankee Pete Incaviglia. You probably remember him Rangers and Phillies, but he hit a clean .250-.250-.250 in 16 plate appearances with the Yanks in 1997.

Spring Training Game Thread: The Future

I suspect we'll get to see Mr. Venditte today. (Photo Credit: Charlie Riedel, AP)

I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve been waiting for this day all spring. The Yankees will play a friendly exhibition against their top prospects this afternoon, so we’ll get to see Jesus Montero attempt to go shot-for-shot with Alex Rodriguez, Slade Heathcott roam the same swath of grass as Curtis Granderson, and David Adams try to out-line drive Robbie Cano. The only guy who won’t be there is CC Sabathia, as tomorrow’s starter went up to Boston ahead of everyone else.

The nine players in the Yanks’ lineup will combine to make roughly $112,275,000  in 2010. The Future Stars’ lineup cost a total of $8.5M or so in signing bonuses, with Heathcott accounting for roughly one-fourth of that. I expect it to be a blood bath. Here’s the lineups…

Derek Jeter, SS
Jorge Posada, C
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Swisher, DH
Granderson, CF
Winn, RF
Gardner, LF

Javy Vazquez, SP

Future Stars
Slade Heathcott, CF
Corban Joseph, 3B
Jesus Montero, C
David Adams, 2B
J.R. Murphy, DH
Colin Curtis, LF
Bradley Suttle, 1B
Eduardo Nunez, SS
Melky Mesa, RF

Jon Albaladejo, SP

Chad Jennings has the rest of the pitchers and position players that are available. There’s a whole lot of ’em.

First pitch is scheduled for 1:05pm ET, and yes, the game will be broadcast on YES. After today, the games count.

Yankees bring back Chad Moeller

Via Chad Jennings, the Yanks have brought back veteran catcher Chad Moeller on a minor league deal. With the team’s top three catchers nursing minor injuries, Moeller gives the team a familiar face and some depth in Triple-A. He’ll also mentor Jesus Montero, and CJ says the team is expected to release Mike Rivera.

I thought Moeller did a great job for the Yanks back in 2008, but his .287 wOBA tells a different story. Something about understanding the facts and not letting your memory trick you in believing something goes here…

Saturday Morning Links: Organizational Rankings, Five Questions, Stadium

Here’s some links to kill the time until the Yanks take on their top prospects this afternoon…

Yankees top FanGraphs’ Organizational Rankings

At long last, the crew at FanGraphs revealed the top ranked team in their 2010 organizational rankings, and it’s none other than our beloved Bombers. It’s a short three part series that features discussions about the team’s current talent, it’s future talent, and an overall wrapup. “We talk about dominant eras in sports history,” said wrapper upper Dave Cameron of USS Mariner fame. “The Brian Cashman-era Yankees are going to take their spot someday, because with the way the organization is structured, they’re going to be scary good for the foreseeable future. This is what happens when you spend $200 million really, really well.”

THT’s Five Questions

As part of their Five Questions series, Dan Turkenkopf of The Hardball Times answer five of the most pressing questions facing the boys from the Bronx. He talks about the team’s potential vulnerability to lefthanded pitchers, the New Stadium, Jesus Montero, the budget, and perhaps the most pressing question of all: will they repeat?

Looking at the homerun rate at the New Stadium

We’ve talked about this ad nauseum, but I’m mentioning this here because it was written by our own Joe Pawlikowski and featured at ESPN’s TMI Blog. Essentially, after watching balls leave the park at an unfathomable rate last April, the number of homeruns hit at the New Stadium dropped off big time during the summer, especially once the Yankees’ pitchers figured out how to how to pitch in the place. It’s Insider only, but go check it out if you haven’t already.

BA’s three year talent rankings

The crew at Baseball America put together a set of rankings based on how much talent each team has produced in the last three years. The Diamondbacks predictably top the list after seeing players like Justin Upton, Mark Reynolds, and Brett Anderson come through their system, but the Yanks come in at number ten, not bad considering how they always get knocked for not producing players. Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes were the number four starter and primary setup man for a World Series Champion last year, respectively, and that’s no small feat.

The Mets, meanwhile, came in dead last. That’s what happens when the best player you’ve developed in the last three years is Mike Pelfrey.

BA’s prospect rankings by positions

Another Baseball America link for you, this time they’ve ranked all the prospects in the game by position. Jesus Montero was atop the catcher list, while Austin Romine came in at number 12 and Gary Sanchez number 22. The Blue Jays, Indians, and Giants were the only other teams with multiple catchers on the 25 man list, all with two. Slade Heathcott was number 12 among centerfielders, two spots ahead of Reymond Fuentes, who the Red Sox drafted one spot before the Yanks took Slade last year. Zach McAllister was 34th among right starters, Manny Banuelos 22nd among lefties.