Nothing changes at Legends Field for Matsui. He is still the most covered player on the most covered team. Whatever attention Randy Johnson is getting, or Alex Rodriguez or Derek Jeter, it pales when compared to Matsui.
…Under Joe Torre, the Yankees have wanted to portray a style that honors their heritage: Show up ready every day to play well, but never show up the opponent. Matsui embodies that as well as any player who was drafted and developed in the organization.
“You couldn’t ask for a better Yankee,” said Afterman, whose ties to Japan helped facilitate Matsui’s signing.
After improving offensively last season, and performing well in the playoffs, Matsui has become a fan favorite in New York. The Yankees are expected to try and work out an extension with Godzilla sometime this spring.
The brightest moment out of Yankee camp yesterday was when Mike Stanton served a bp meatball to Bernie Williams, which was promptly crushed over the left field fence. Felix Rodriguez threw well, while Flash Gordon still hasn’t been able to entirely shake off his poor performance against the Red Sox last fall. Still, his manager thinks he’s a stand-up guy:
“He’s honest, and you can’t help but want to hug the guy.” – Joe Torre on Tom Gordon‘s admission that he was very anxious before pitching in Game 5 of ALCS last fall. (N.Y. Daily News)
Gone, But Not Forgotten
Finally, Bill Madden has a piece on Jon Lieber, the one who got away:
“To be honest,” Lieber was saying yesterday in the solitude of the clubhouse of the Phillies’ spring training complex, “I thought I’d be back, but there was always the chance they might decide otherwise. I guess that’s what happened. I have no hard feelings toward them. It was just business. I really appreciate everything they did for me. They stuck their necks out for me, gave me a chance when all the other clubs weren’t willing to go there. They committed to me for two years.”
But here’s the telling quote:
“In retrospect we probably should have picked up the option,” Yankee GM Brian Cashman said yesterday. “But who knew the market was going to explode the way it did?”
Straight-shooting from Cash.