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Here’s the news:
- At the News, Mark Feinsand profiles 19-year-old Jesus Montero, the supposed heir apparent to Posada:
Though there’s been speculation that Montero, a burly, 6-3, 230-pound Venezuelan, might have to switch positions, the Yankees say they are committed to him as a receiver.
“That’s our intention and, more importantly, that’s his intention, too,” said Mark Newman, the Yankees’ vice president of baseball operations. “Right now, he hasn’t shown us anything that tells us he can’t do it. He improved his throw-out percentage last year. He’s a big boy, so he’s got to maintain lower body flexibility, but he’s got very good arm strength and he’s very bright, so he’ll run a game very well.”
“The conventional wisdom might be that he’s too big. But our attitude is that he can do it and we expect him to do it. He’s a catcher and he’s nothing beyond that, at this time.”
Montero, who played in the Futures Game at Yankee Stadium last summer, had a huge season at Charleston, the Yankees’ low-Class A affiliate in 2008, batting .326 with 17 homers and 87 RBI. It was his first full season. Montero likely will move up to high-A Tampa in 2009, Newman said.
- Joba Chamberlain is yet another teammate to support A-Rod:
Even though Rodriguez might have a long process to go through, from the possibility of scorn from his own teammates and fans and insulting chants in opposing ballparks, Chamberlain feels confident he will thrive, baseball-wise. “He’s still going to go out and play the game,” Chamberlain said. “He’s going to be the Alex that we’ve counted on and he’s going to be there for us…. He’s one of the greatest players to ever play, so he’s going to continue to do what he does.”
- Teixeira has thrown his support behind Rodriguez too:
“I know he’s going through a rough time right now, and I think his apology said it all,” Teixeira said. “He’s disappointed in himself, he made a mistake and we’re all going to move on … I’m just going to open up my arms, give him a big hug, tell him I love him and we’re going to get through this.” …
“I’ve never touched steroids or any of those kinds of things — it’s something I feel very strongly about — but at the same time I’ve made mistakes, I’m not perfect, no one’s perfect.”
- Jason Giambi is happy other players have come forward about their use of steroids.
- Newsday’s Ken Davidoff has a problem with Derek Jeter not talking to the media about A-Rod just yet:
His plea, instead, appeared born of convenience: He wants to wait for all of the media to arrive in town before addressing the hot topic. And he wants to answer all of the questions just once, and then move on.
Which sounds reasonable, in a vacuum. Except that anything involving both Jeter and A-Rod becomes, naturally, a reflection upon their highly scrutinized relationship.
You think, therefore, about the inconsistencies here. How Jeter repeatedly spoke up on behalf of Pettitte, Giambi, Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, and didn’t set a deadline or a limit on any of those subjects.
And you think about the consistencies here. How Jeter often goes through more effort, or so it seems, to not do entirely right for A-Rod. How he refused to ask Yankees fans to stop booing the slumping A-Rod in 2006, citing a lack of precedent, even though in 2005 he requested that they stop getting on Giambi.
- Goose Gossage isn’t too happy with Mr. Rodriguez’s actions:
Goose said steroid users like Rodriguez should not be given a free pass into Cooperstown just because they put up huge numbers. Rodriguez likely will be the all-time home run king when it is all said and done.
“The greatest record of all time is at stake here,” Gossage said. “I don’t know where all this goes, the Hall of Fame is a hallowed place. I can’t understand what his thinking was. The history of the game is everything.
“Alex is probably going to break the [home-run] record, but all credibility is out the window.
“Henry Aaron did it clean and that’s the bottom line,” Gossage said. “Anything else is tainted and what does it mean?
“And if you let one in,” Gossage said of the steroid-tainted stars’ entrance into the Hall of Fame, “you are going to have to let them all in. What they’ve accomplished, would they have accomplished had they been clean?”
- Bobby Abreu has apparently found a place to play for ’09. He’ll be signing a 1-year deal with the Angels for a base $5 million.
- In light of the Abreu signing (and Dunn signing with the Nats), PeteAbe believes the Yanks are now in better trading position with the Braves.
- Pete also lets us know the Yanks have invited three more players to Spring Training.
- And the last item on the LoHud update … Posada looks good to Pete so far:
I’m also surprised by what I’ve seen from Jorge Posada. He is showing good pop in the cage and I think it’s a good sign that on Feb. 11 he’s receiving balls in a crouch and coming out of it to throw. The Yankees will be cautious with him all camp but he seems to be on pace for Opening Day.
- Tim Redding turns 31 today. Redding had one awful start for the Yanks in 2005.
- Juan Bonilla turns 54 today. Bonilla had cups of coffee with the Bombers in ’85 and ’87.
- On this date in 1932, George Weiss is named head of the Yankees’ new minor league system. Weiss will eventually become the general manager of the Yankees, and along with manager Casey Stengel, will oversee an unprecedented five consecutive World Championships from 1949 to 1953. In 1971 Weiss will eventually gain election to the Hall of Fame in 1971.