Thursday morning news and notes: 3/21/13

We're past the halfway mark of the month of March and for some odd reason, I'm still tempted to type in '12 as the year. I've nearly done it every morning this week. Maybe that will teach me to start writing after I have my coffee. So what happened yesterday? Well, there was this story from Bob Nightengale about MLB's pursuit of everyone involved in the Biogenesis brouhaha but specifically Ryan Braun. Now, according to Tom Hardicourt, MLB is denying that. MLB VP Rob Manfred said in a statement to Hardicourt's Milwaukee Sentinel, "Everyone whose name has surfaced surrounding the Miami New Times story and Biogenesis is being investigated with equal vigor."

Yeah, sure.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports published a piece late last night that basically backs up Nightengale's piece by stating that indeed, Braun, along with Alex Rodriguez remain the main targets of MLB's probe. It makes sense since Braun, circumvented the system and was able to successfully appeal a positive drug test because of a botched chain of command. As for Rodriguez, this is just the latest in a string of investigations he's been involved with. From gambling to steroids, Rodriguez always seems to be public enemy number 1 in MLB's eyes.

This whole thing reeks of McCarthyism to me.

In non-steroid news, Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger reports that Chien-Ming Wang showed up at the Yankees' minor league complex yesterday and pitched in front of a group of scouts while in pursuit of a minor league deal. Wang could be an interesting addition to the team but as McCullough says, so could Vidal Nuno who has put on quite a show himself this Spring. Yesterday he threw five innings of two-hit ball against the Red Sox which lowered his Grapefruit League ERA to 0.68.

Our Brad Vietrogoski has a piece about Wang coming up at 9:30 this morning.

In case you missed it, the Yankees and Red Sox announced that they will be standing together to honor the victims of the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. There will be a pregame ceremony on Opening Day honoring those who were lost and both teams will don specially made patches. MLB commissioner has asked the rest of the teams in the league to wear the patch as well.

The Yankees are also planning on having a special day planned for the residents of Newtown on July 7. The team will be taking on Baltimore and have set aside 3,000 seats for people from the town to come and enjoy a day of baseball.

It was also announced yesterday that this year's HOPE Week will be celebrated July 8-12th. It's the fifth annual HOPE Week, can you believe that? Time flies.

More details will be unveiled closer to the event itself but press release said, "Each day over the five-day stretch, the Yankees will reach out to an individual, family or organization worthy of recognition and support, surprising honorees with a day celebrating their accomplishments."

And for the second year in a row, the minor league affiliates will hold their own versions of HOPE Week. I always enjoy HOPE Week and look forward to it every year. I'm so glad the Yankees started doing this initiative and I really love that other teams like the Minnesota Twins now hold their own HOPE Weeks as well.

ESPN Radio host Colin Cowherd said yesterday during his show that he believed that Robinson Cano played harder during the World Baseball Classic than he ever has a New York Yankee. Now, as you can imagine, there were many reactions to his statement. My reaction was that he enjoys spewing his casual racism over radio airwaves. Others had reactions as well. Steven Goldman of Pinstriped Bible cautions Cowherd to not confuse a player having temporary lapse from time-to-time with laziness. Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York, who actually dared to criticize another member of the ESPN brethren, went down the "Cano is an equal opportunity non-hustler in certain situations," route. After I read his lede, I wanted to click the tab shut but he redeems himself by talking about how he sees Cano nearly everyday and sees how hard he works.

In other words, "Shut up, Cowherd."

Some notes:

  • Derek Jeter could possibly start the season on DL.
  • Mark Montgomery and Matt Tracy were reassigned to minor league camp.
  • CC Sabathia went 6 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K in a Minor League game yesterday. His final Spring start will be Tuesday.
  • The Yankees don't play until later tonight. (It's like a regular season day!) They will be taking on the Minnesota Twins at 7:05 p.m. at Steinbrenner Field. The game will be on YES and will tape delayed on MLB Network.

Happy Thursday!