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Roger Clemens officially has the law going after him.

Yesterday, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform formally asked the Attorney General to open an investigation. In a PDF memo (click here for PDF) released by the Committee, it details seven conflicting statements made between a deposition and the Congressional Hearing, plus affidavits from Pettitte and his wife, and medical evidence. Here’s the list:

  1. Mr. Clemens’s testimony that he has “never taken steroids or HGH.”
  2. Mr. Clemens’s testimony that Mr. McNamee injected him with lidocaine.
  3. Mr. Clemens’s testimony that team trainers gave him with pain injections.
  4. Mr. Clemens’s testimony that he received many vitamin B-12 injections.
  5. Mr. Clemens’s testimony that he never discussed HGH with Mr. McNamee.
  6. Mr. Clemens’s testimony that he was not at Jose Canseco’s home from June 8-10, 1998.
  7. Mr. Clemens’s testimony that he was “never told” about Senator Mitchell’s request.

Gene Wojciechowski did a good job of summing up the evidence of these seven conflicting statements on his column at ESPN.

With a formal request to the Department of Justice, it’s eventually inevitable that Clemens will be charged as Bonds was — and hunted down like a wild dog as Jones, Bonds, and Dana Stubblefield were by IRS special agent Jeff Novitzky.

Clemens better find a better lawyer than ‘ol Rusty. And…FAST.

Today the Yankees have their first intrasquad game, and first “meaningful” practice of spring training. Joe Girardi has been commenting to the media who he is impressed with, and who needs to earn a spot.

He said the only three guaranteed bullpen pitchers are Mo, Farnsy, and LaTroy. Everyone else has equal dibs.

Question marks coming into the spring training season is first base, left field, and DH. Giambi has shown promising form early, but it’s a question whether his 37-year old body can hold up to the rigors of 162 games. Matsui and Damon both are apparently back to their old selves, which poses a problem of who to select for left field. If I had to decide now, I’d put Matsui in left and Damon at DH.

With today’s intrasquad game, this will give the fans, media, and coaches a better look at game situations and how well the pitchers fare against live hitting without a screen.

From PeteAbe, today’s pitching lineup:

Here’s how the pitchers will line up this week

Intrasquad game on Wednesday

Team one: Mike Mussina, Darrell Rasner, Dan McCutchen, Sean Henn, Jon Albaladejo, Mark Melancon.

Team two: Jeff Karstens, Scott Patterson, Steven Jackson, Billy Traber, Edwar Ramirez, Ross Ohlendorf.

I’m more interested in watching McCutchen, Henn, and Ohlendorf. I speculate Ohlendorf will be able to make the final bullpen cut. McCutchen has a big chip on his shoulder after his MLB suspension for failing to report his Adderall prescription. With a 94-MPH fastball and experience in the bullpen in college, I’m definitely intrigued with McCutchen and what he can offer to the team.


It’s official.

According to multiple media and blogging sources, Hank Steinbrenner said that over the course of the season, he will discuss with Brian Cashman’s his contract as the team’s general manager. Thus begins the discussion that should happen. Does Cashman deserve to be back?

“He’s been with our family for a long, long time,” said Steinbrenner. It’s obvious the family has respect for the man who pretty much learned the ropes as an intern and eventually rebuild the Yankee dynasty of the 1990s using the same formula he is doing right now — using the farm system and home grown talent.

Jon Heyman at Sports Illustrated recently ranked Cashman as the fifth best GM in the game right now. In his article, Heyman credits the World Series rings at the beginning of Cashman’s GM tenure, but blames him for several poor decisions the past few years with free agent pick-ups or trades that did not help the team. For the most part, Cashman has helped the team get to where it is today.

While Cashman has been a vocal supporter of Joe Torre in the past, he knew it was time to let go once Torre turned down his contract offer last fall. Cashman knew it was time to move on and start fresh. The team has been dormant the past few seasons, reaching only the first round of playoffs. In hindsight, I wouldn’t have guessed the new intensity of the team and how many veterans (and younger players) are reporting to camp in better condition than they were last year. Before we’re quick to blame Torre for lack of commitment, remember, he brought the team back from a 21-29 start into the playoffs and 1.5 games behind the Red Sox. Having a new manager has lit a fire under the players.

And, this is largely due to Cashman’s influence and thinking he has put in the Steinbrenners. If it wasn’t for Cashman’s advice, the Yankees would have a prominent Venezuelan on their roster and no longer have a certain blogger who wears #34.

If there’s one thing Cashman has earned, it’s the right to return as the GM. He has helped rebuild the team around three possible pitching stars and multitude of other position players waiting in the wings for their chances.

But, the new contract should not be more than three years. Cashman has earned it, yes…but we need time to evaluate how successful his decisions were, and we cannot allow Cashman’s tenure to become like what Joe Torre’s had become — stagnant.

(Courtesy of AP)

There’s been a lot of discussion the last few days about what Jeter said, and did not say, about his future with the Yankees.

It all started late last week with an article by Mark Feinsand at the Daily News where Feinsand reports

…the Yankees’ captain has no plans to pull a Robin Yount or Ernie Banks and shift positions for the latter years of his career.

My Baseball Bias has an excellent article about this subject. Among things Jason said that I agree with:

  • It’s time for Jeter (and the team) to start preparing for a switch to another position.
  • Jeter’s defense has been declining, and statistically, he was ranked last or at the bottom of several defensive categories.
  • Rob Neyer, who isn’t a fan of Jeter’s also said this in 2001:

Is Jeter the worst defensive shortstop in the major leagues? Maybe he is, maybe he isn’t. There is some evidence to suggest that he is, but I’m sure there’s evidence to suggest that he isn’t, too. My point is that there’s no evidence to suggest that he’s an outstanding defensive shortstop, or even a good one.

Claiming to have come off a new, different conditioning and work out program this past winter, he says his first step is faster. That has yet to be seen until we actually see him in the regular season.

It’s time for the team to prepare for the move of the Captain. Jeter must face reality, and soon.

Over the weekend, the Yankees had spring training moved indoors due to rain, had live BP, nearly had Jeter decapitated by Wang, and announced their pitching schedule for this week’s scrimmages. It feels like a short weekend, huh?

I’m ready for some real baseball action.

What to do with Matsui and Damon? And Giambi for that matter?

With Damon and Matsui competing for a starting position in left field, both veterans have already proven themselves as effective players. Both players are coming off slow starts or injuries during the 2007 season. Girardi has already vowed to have Damon start as the leadoff, and wants to get him “600 plate appearances and stay healthy.” If that’s the case, it appears Damon would be starting in LF, or in the DH role. Whither Giambi?

Giambi reported to camp in shape, and actually appeared to have lost weight. He was asked to come to camp with the mentality that he will be starting 1B. Can he be trusted to burden the defensive load there? Only time will tell. The Yankees have other players they can rely on if Giambi falters (Duncan, Ensberg, Betemit).

Back to Matsui — he had the trust of Torre. Now things are different. Trade rumors are swirling around Matsui’s hat. Last winter’s rumors about a possible trade with the San Francisco Giants are gone — for now.  But, honestly, who can resist the fact that Matsui has given the Yankees 100+ RBIs in four of his five seasons (the non-100 RBI season was 2006 where he broke his foot early in the year), and has averaged a double digit figure in home runs since. Matsui is offensively capable.

But, so is Damon. When healthy and in top form, Damon is a OBP threat and a strong threat to get to home once brought home by those batting after him. With this offensive juggernaut, he’s more likely to get runs on the scoreboard.

The Yankees haven’t had this many veterans competing among younger stars (i.e. Melky Cabrera), and stars waiting in the wings (i.e. Austin Jackson).

As much as I hate to say this… if Matsui proves to have a slow start or isn’t contributing offensively (and defensively), the Yankees should consider trading him. My wife would kill me when she sees this as he is her favorite player, but we need a leadoff hitter more than we need a number 5 or 6 hitter.

Here’s what I think Girardi will do: He will keep all the veterans, and send the rookies or minor league invites to Triple A and call them up as soon as he can. I’ve seen how hungry players like Shelley Duncan are — heck — who comes to Tampa a month early?

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