Angels consider Matthews ban (cont.)
Posted: Monday March 12, 2007 12:11PM; Updated: Monday March 12, 2007 5:49PM
It's believed there is nothing spelled out in Matthews' contract that would allow the Angels to void the deal, and several baseball executives say it's a longshot for them to successfully take that action. One baseball lawyer said the team could try making a case for fraud if there are facts to suggest it, and yet another executive said the team could try to tie Matthews up in court if it chooses.
A suspension is possible, though if Matthews can show a prescription for the HGH, even that penalty could be difficult to sustain. HGH wasn't banned by baseball until 2005, although it was illegal then without a prescription for an appropriate medical problem. (MLB doesn't test for HGH for the same reason the NFL doesn't -- there is no reliable test. Selig says "money will be no object" in coming up with one.) The SI.com report said Matthews had a prescription from an anti-aging clinic. The Angels expect the union to challenge any punishment that goes outside those outlined in the basic agreement.
A ban can't be ruled out, even if Matthews simply continues to decline to comment. Baseball people point out the public relations hit that's already come with the hiring by Matthews of prominent criminal lawyer Robert Shapiro and a crisis management team. Meanwhile, the Angels will continue to seek answers. "The Angels' issue remains communication," Mead said Sunday. "We want to know what it is we can know."
Around the camps
There's a lot of talk in Rangers camp that Sammy Sosa still needs to stay back on the breaking ball. But he's obviously hitting the fastball pretty well, as evidenced by his .500 batting average. He's got that team made.
Texas' Ron Washington is my new favorite manager. He divulged his bullpen plans: comeback star Eric Gagne in the ninth inning, Akinori Otsuka in the eighth, and four relievers for the seventh, plus, in Washington's words, "half a bag of seeds, five cups of coffee, 60 toothpicks and 10 cigarettes.''
Texas could be a landing spot for Jermaine Dye should he not work things out in Chicago. Anaheim could be another one.
Like Sosa, Barry Bonds is killing the ball out here in Arizona.
There's still a lot of trade talk involving Padres reliever Scott Linebrink.
The most trade talk may involve Phillies center fielder Aaron Rowand, who is being looked at by his former team, the White Sox. According to one scout, Brian Anderson "has looked big, more like a corner outfielder,'' and Darin Erstad "has lost a step.'' He was timed in 4.45 down to first base, which is only about major-league average.
Ichiro, on the other hand, was timed in 4.06 the day I saw him in Peoria.
The Dodgers' Brad Penny would seem to be a good alternative for any team in need of pitching and $7.5 million to spend. Jon Lieber is a lesser alternative for the same price.
If Carl Pavano isn't on the block, it's because the Yankees don't want to sell at the bottom. The Rockies wanted the Yankees to take Josh Fogg, then make up most of the rest of the difference in salaries.
Clint Barmes has frustrated some Rockies people by abandoning his overhauled swing a week and a half into camp. After struggling under .200, he went back to his old swing, ditching the one he had worked on all winter.
The Yankees' Kei Igawa had folks worried with his first outing. But one scout familiar with Japanese baseball points out that players there often use spring training to prepare, not to impress.
Maybe that's what happened to Daisuke Matsuzaka, too, because he certainly didn't impress Sunday when two non-roster Orioles took him deep.
Gary Sheffield keeps coming up with whoppers. It's almost funny he took credit for Alex Rodriguez getting off his chest the truth regarding his relationship with Derek Jeter. Sheffield is saying now that he spent last year advising A-Rod to do just that. Odd thing is, I didn't find one time he said any such thing. About the only thing he talked about last season was how he should have his option picked up.
Now Sheffield is saying the Red Sox were his first choice. When we all know his first choice is always whoever wants to pay him the most money.
Is Duaner Sanchez on the 60-day DL, or the 60-pound DL?
Condolences to the family and baseball friends of longtime Phillies coach and player John Vukovich, who, by all accounts, was an exceptional man.