PLAYING IT COOL IN
The Yankees' bid
to score 1,000 runs was derailed last Thursday when leftfielder Hideki Matsui
suffered a gruesome broken left wrist diving for a pop fly. He will miss at
least three months, if not the rest of the year--a major blow because he is the
team's most versatile and best situational hitter.
immediate buzz about trades for possible replacements, including the Phillies'
Bobby Abreu, the Devil Rays' Aubrey Huff, the Twins' Shannon Stewart and the
Nationals' Alfonso Soriano. Says Oakland general manager Billy Beane, "The
only thing faster in New York than the time between the light turning green and
the guy behind you honking is the time between an injury to a Yankees starter
and reports of the names of guys the Yankees will get."
But New York G.M.
Brian Cashman, having wrested power away from the club's Tampa-based officials
last winter, promised patience instead of a quick deal. That's fine as long as
rightfielder Gary Sheffield comes back in about a week, as expected, from a
sprained left wrist. If Sheffield's injury lingers, however, Cashman will tire
of seeing an aged Bernie Williams (above) and the underwhelming Melky Cabrera
and Bubba Crosby sharing the corner outfield spots. Cashman also knows that his
supply of attractive trading chips is thin, with not much beyond righthander
Philip Hughes and first baseman Eric Duncan.
POLICY APPEARS SAFE
The players' union
can unilaterally get rid of the three-strikes-and-you're-out steroid penalty,
rolling back to the softer 2005 drug policy, if a new collective bargaining
agreement is not reached by Aug. 1. And Donald Fehr (left) & Co. can expect
another grilling by Congress if they even consider such a wrongheaded action.
"No way it's going to happen," says one insider. Players and owners met
twice last week in what have been cordial talks toward a new CBA. The current
one expires on Dec. 19.
?The Cubs are
paying for not finding a replacement for injured first baseman Derrek Lee last
month and for thinking that winter acquisitions Juan Pierre (right) and Jacque
Jones would help their offense. During a 2--14 free fall through Sunday,
Chicago was outscored 101--32, the franchise's worst 16-game run production
?Let me get this
straight: Oakland designated hitter Frank Thomas strained a leg muscle last
Thursday because he ran "a little too fast" on the bases? Better stick
to the safety of the trainer's room.
?No one gets more
bang for their buck in the bullpen than the Cardinals. They led the majors in
relief ERA at week's end (2.76), including a 2.02 combined mark by Brad
Thompson, Adam Wainwright, Josh Hancock, Brian Falkenborg and Randy
Flores--none of whom earn more than $355,000.