Boss quiet during slow start (cont.)
Posted: Thursday April 26, 2007 11:39AM; Updated: Thursday April 26, 2007 1:00PM
While Cashman signed a three-year extension the winter before last and is on more solid ground, Torre barely kept his job after a quick playoff exit last year. Whether he's worried about himself or the team (he's always said he doesn't worry about himself), he appears to be managing with a sense of desperation. If the Yankees continue to falter, it's not out of the question that Steinbrenner could turn to bench coach and heir apparent Don Mattingly, whom he likes much more than he does Torre. An old friend of Torre's surmised that, for his own sake, Torre "may have stayed one year too long."
Even so, the possibility of a 10th consecutive division title cannot be discounted by a manager with four World Series rings, a strong lineup led by baseball's hottest and best hitter, Alex Rodriguez, a rotation with a strong track record (when healthy) and the best closer in baseball history. But if things continue to go in this direction, Steinbrenner might eventually break his silence, even if he isn't up to retaking the reins.
Around the Majors
The Braves got quite a deal with catcher Brian McCann if, as some suspect, he's comparable to Twins star Joe Mauer.
McCann's new contract is for $27.8 million over six years (plus a club option) and has been trumpeted as the largest contract ever given a player with fewer than two years of service time. But that's mostly because players don't sign such lengthy deals so early. One baseball person likened that deal to "indentured servitude."
Some suspect White Sox closer Bobby Jenks' loss of velocity (from 99 mph to 94) is related to a conditioning problem. Scouts say he isn't getting the same drive with his legs.
Russ Ortiz (2-1, 4.35) took exception to the claim of some Diamondbacks people that his resurrection is tied to his stark weight loss. Ortiz said it was a "simple deal, just getting my mechanics fixed," and that his former pitching coach in Atlanta, Leo Mazzone, discovered the flaw on his stopover in Baltimore before he came back to the Giants. "I'm weaker. I have less muscle and less strength," says Ortiz, who's noticeably slimmer than while with Arizona, where he went 5-16 in a year and a half after signing a $33 million contract. "All I did was cut out sugar."
Ortiz said the reason he went back to the Giants was "Rags" (their wonderful pitching coach Dave Righetti). So it's sort of a riches to Rags story.
One Pacific Rim scout said Yankees left-hander Kei Igawa's problem has always been his inability to get a breaking ball over.
You have to love Phil Garner's honesty. "We stunk. Absolutely stunk," he said after his Astros lost to the Pirates Tuesday.
Francisco Rodriguez appears to be begging to stay with Anaheim, which bodes well for its chances to sign him.
Pitcher Brad Halsey didn't take it well when he was sent down. He claims he was bypassed for a big-league start because the A's found out he was about to have an MRI. "I mean, I'm a person, too," Halsey told the San Francisco Chronicle.
I'm glad to have my "Extra Innings" package again. It's the latest reminder that no one compares to Vin Scully. And that while many local announcers tend toward homerism, no one is in a league with the White Sox guys, who are infuriating unless you are a die-hard White Sox fan.
It's something to see Barry Bonds, 43, lining a hit off a 98-mph fastball from Jonathan Broxton, who gave up a run after 16 straight scoreless outings and may be the best setup man in the game.
Jake Peavy has it all back together again, huh?
In case Torii Hunter would like to continue his streak of generosity, he might want to know that I haven't written anything bad about the Twins in a while.