Archive for February 16th, 2007

Friday, February 16th, 2007

Lo Duca Loves New York

Mets Rumors & News

Despite the media circus that engulfed catcher Paul Lo Duca in the wake of his divorce proceedings, Paulie Walnuts insists that he loves being a Met and hopes 2007 isn’t his last in blue and orange. “The fans and my teammates stuck behind me, so it turned out to be great,” said Lo Duca. “I felt like I came out on top in the situation.”

He certainly came out on top in the batter’s box, hitting .318 last season despite playing much of the season with a torn ligament in his left thumb. The injury required surgery in the offseason to reattach the ligament and remove bone chips from the knuckle, however Lo Duca is in camp and has pronounced himself ready to go.

Mets brass plans to sit down with Lo Duca at some point during spring training and discuss his impending free agency, however it’s unlikely that the club will present him with an offer at that time. The Mets have indicated that they do not plan …

Schoeneweis No Stranger To Adversity

Mets Rumors & News

Newsday today reveals that Mets pitchers Billy Wagner and Scott Schoeneweis became quick friends upon meeting at Port St. Lucie yesterday. David Lennon opines that Wagner could learn a lot about personal fortitude from his new buddy, who beat cancer while still a sophomore at Duke University, doubling up on his chemo treatment in order to return to the mound as quickly as possible, only to blow out his left elbow and require Tommy John surgery.

‘Bern Out’ Continues

Yankees Rumors & News

Yankees manager Joe Torre has reached out to non-roster invitee Bernie Williams in an attempt to convince him to report to spring training. Says Torre, “The only thing I stressed to him (Wednesday) was, ‘If you want to continue to play, you can’t do it if you stay up there. We have to see you.'”

However, The Daily News cites “a baseball official with knowledge of the situation” who states that Bernie will continue to refuse the Yankees’ invitation unless he is given assurance that he’ll make the 25-man roster, even if that assurance comes in the form of a verbal agreement between him and the manager.

A roster spot for Bernie never materialized in the offseason when talks to trade outfielder Melky Cabrera for reliever Mike Gonzalez never came to fruition, and Doug Mientkiewicz was signed as a free agent to platoon at first base with either Andy Phillips or Josh Phelps. Mientkiewcz however has been an every day player for much of his career, and if Torre’s loyalties prevail, there is …

Angry Moose

Yankees Rumors & News

On Thursday, Yankees $40 million bust Carl Pavano denied allegations that he had become an outcast in the clubhouse and lost credibility with his teammates, claiming such charges were “more hyped by [the media] than anything else.”

Moments later, Pavano got his wake-up call. Informed of the pitcher’s remarks, veteran Mike Mussina took a moment to set the record straight.

Daily News reporter John Harper explains:

“When one guy is out there playing through (injuries) and another is not,” Mussina said, “that’s how teammates get a bad taste in their mouth. As another starting pitcher who hasn’t been 100% the last two years, I know what it takes to go out there and pitch, and I know when you can’t. After 15 years, I know where that line is.”

In other words, Pavano was considered suspect from the minute he was sidelined with a “bruised buttocks” last spring. But what doomed him with teammates was not only the succession of injuries last year, but the fact that something new seemed to develop each time …

Wagner Vows To Be Better

Mets Rumors & News

Over on his blog, “On the Mets beat,” Newsday reporter David Lennon relays some great quotes from Mets closer Billy Wagner.

Lennon reports:

Asked if he would be more comfortable with a year in New York under his belt, Wagner didn’t necessarily agree.

“I don’t want to be comfortable because that means you’re complacent,” Wagner said. “I have to be on edge and every time I step on the mound and feel like I have to impress. Last year for me wasn’t an impressive year.”

As Wagner pointed out, his numbers were fine — 40 saves, 2.24 ERA — but he never felt right all year. It started with his finger problems in spring training, became more complicated with the whole “Enter Sandman” fiasco and then got messy because of a communication breakdown with manager Willie Randolph. As a result, Wagner always felt like he was struggling.

“I was always behind the 8-ball the whole time and it just made it harder and harder to get strong with my pitches and have confidence in making that pitch,” …

Forsberg Goes Country: Traded to Nashville

Devils Rumors & NewsIslanders Rumors & News

Multiple sources are reporting that the Philadelphia Flyers have agreed to send Peter Forsberg to the Nashville Predators in exchange for Scottie Upshall, Ryan Parent, a first round draft pick, and a third round pick.

Forsberg remains one of the premier centers in the game, however he has battled injuries throughout his two-year tenure in Philly, and the Flyers have sunken to among the league’s cellar dwellers, firing their coach and GM earlier in the season. Recently, it seemed that Forsberg had overcome the foot injury that kept him out of 16 games this season, and he had recorded three goals and nine assists in nine games since the All-Star break, triggering a bidding war for his services. Several teams were thought to be interested in Forsberg – including the New York Rangers – but apparently Nashville was willing to surrender the largest bounty for the impending free agent.

The Predators already lead the Western Conference with 81 points, holding a substantial lead on the 2nd place Anaheim Ducks, who hold 74 points. …

Swindal Swigs, Swerves, Jailed

Yankees Rumors & News

The AP is reporting that Yankees general partner and Heir-to-the-Throne Steve Swindal was arrested by the St. Petersburg Police in the early hours this morning for DUI. Swindal, 52, is Yankee owner George Steinbrenner’s son-in-law, and has been named by The Boss as his eventual successor.

Said Steinbrenner spokesman Howard Rubenstein:

“Mr. Swindal apologizes profusely for this distraction during the Yankees’ spring training and no further comment will be made until this is resolved.”

Mangini Targets Daboll

Jets Rumors & News

According to the Post, the Jets are at it again, aiming to snare another Patriots’ coach from Bill Belichick’s cupboard. The coach in question is Brian Daboll, Patriots’ receivers coach for the past five seasons, and a defensive assistant for two seasons prior to that. Jets head coach Eric Mangini worked on the Patriots’ staff alongside Daboll from 2000-2005, and clearly admires the coach, as evidenced by comments he made during the 2006 seasons. At the time, Mangini praised Daboll, saying he has “always done an outstanding job with receivers.”

Currently, Noel Mazzone serves as the Jets’ receivers coach, so it’s unclear what role Daboll would have on the Jets’ staff. It would have to be a promotion of some sort from his position with the Patriots, unless Belichick has simply chosen not to retain the coach.

Introducing The Young Guns

Mets Rumors & News

While the official reporting day for pitchers and catchers to Mets spring training is not until tomorrow, many of the team’s young starters have been in Port St. Lucie all week in anticipation of the competition ahead. While technically only Tom Glavine and Orlando Hernandez are guaranteed spots in the rotation, it is hard to imagine that John Maine and Oliver Perez wouldn’t secure the 3rd and 4th spots in the rotation after their playoff performances in 2006. That leaves just one open spot for a group of seven hopefuls that includes prospects Mike Pelfrey, Philip Humber, and Alay Soler, offseason acquisitions Jason Vargas and Jorge Sosa, and veteran signees Aaron Sele and Chan Ho Park.

For fans interested in learning more about their crop of young pitchers, the local papers have several great profiles today. The Star-Ledger discusses the group in general, while the New York Post talks to Pelfrey and Humber, and the New York Times takes an in-depth look at …

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