Meet the new boss (cont.)
While he was at it, Steinbrenner also suggested that he wouldn't have made Chamberlain a reliever last year, either. But as Cashman said, club officials, concerned about Chamberlain's future at the time, determined that Chamberlain only had 35 innings left in his arm when they promoted him last year. Thus, they enacted the Joba Rules, which became a smash hit. And Chamberlain became one big reason the team made the playoffs.
All the Yankees executives went over the same concerns and considerations this spring, and as far as everyone knew, they all were on the same page. Then Kennedy and Hughes started to struggle, and suddenly Hank the Yank was onto a whole new book, the one where he's right and everyone else is wrong.
Young Steinbrenner seems intent on showing everyone how much he knows about baseball when he spent the past 20 years doing who-knows-what at Kinsman Stud in Ocala, Fla., the family's breeding ground for unmemorable racehorses and apparently blustery baseball owners, as well.
What we do know is that Steinbrenner the younger saddled exactly zero Triple Crown winners in all those years in Ocala while the Yankees were making the playoffs 13 straight years and winning four World Series, all without him. Now he desperately wants to show that he's the missing ingredient. But he's plainly worried, after only 20 games, that the Yankees could lose their playoff streak the very first year he's in charge.
That Kennedy and Hughes are off to slow starts is actually nothing out of the ordinary for kid pitchers. Kennedy is off with his control, and his bread-and-butter changeup has been missing. Hughes has been erratic.
Though nothing compared to the neophyte owner.
Around the Majors
More bad news for Barry Bonds: The A's have no interest in signing him. While A's GM Billy Beane has long been an admirer of Bonds' talents, a person familiar with their thinking said they are committed to their youth movement and fear a "circus'' atmosphere would overwhelm all the fine under-the-radar rebuilding they're doing.
Frank Thomas enters a difficult job market for aging DHs, as Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Mike Piazza could attest. But with his $8-million salary already paid by Toronto, Thomas would come cheap. Some teams that aren't getting much production out of their DH include Seattle (Jose Vidro's hitting .208) and Oakland (Jack Cust's at .157). Thomas was a hit for the A's in 2006. But the A's could also just call up Carlos Gonzalez, who's hitting .348 at Triple-A Sacramento, if they have concerns about their offense.
It's been 17 years since both Chicago teams led their divisions simultaneously.
Pat Burrell (7 HRs, 19 RBIs, .364) is on a nice salary drive. The Phillies tried to trade him a couple years ago, but he only wanted to go to the Yankees or Red Sox then.
Chase Utley (nine homers already) could make it three straight MVPs for Phillies infielders.
Condolences to the family of John Marzano, who died this week after falling down a flight of stairs at his South Philly home. Marzano was making a name for himself in the broadcast business, most recently with MLB.com, after being a big-league catcher for 10 years.
Jose Canseco's big date with federal agents is today. So even if his book tour is bombing (only 8,000 books sold out of 175,000 shipped at first count), at least someone is interested in hearing what he has to say.