Don writes: Do you think that the Mitchell report, which names prominent Yankees such as Clemens, Justice and Pettitte, tarnishes the validity of the great Yankee championship teams in the era of 1996-2000?
Answer: Not a bit. The Mitchell Report named but a small number of the players who were using PEDs during that time. Mitchell got lucky that Kirk Radomski and Brian McNamee fell into his lap. There are dozens of other players out there who dodged a bullet.
Michael writes: What do you think about a guy like Mike Mussina (assuming he has been steroid free throughout his career) and making the Hall of Fame? He’s won 250 games during an era when lots were juicing. If the Mitchell Report is, in fact, true, how can a guy like Mike Mussina not make the HOF?
Answer: Wouldn’t it be something if the Moose made Cooperstown ahead of Roger Clemens? As somebody who will have a vote when Mussina is eligible, I’ll take a look at him in that context.
Kevin writes:Â It seems like Andy Pettitte has been crucified and from the Mitchell Report it sounds like he only used one cycle when he was on the DL. Isn’t HGH available by prescription by a doctor for faster healing?Â When was HGH actually banned in the MLB?Â What are your thoughts because I feel that Andy, while wrong in obtaining HGH in an underhanded method, the label “cheater” might be harsh.
Answer: I’m glad you wrote so I can clear up some popular misconceptions. HGH is not approved for that kind of use and, in fact, doesn’t seem to help heal injuries. It also is banned by MLB, along with the use of any other prescription drugs without a prescription. Andy was flat-out wrong and broke the rules. Whether you consider him a cheater is your call.
Khoa writes:Â Whatâ€™s Steve Swindal been up to these days now that the Steinbrenner boys are running the show? Is he out of the organization? And is there some form of a non-disclosure agreement to protect an MLB team when someone high up in the organization leaves after learning its trade secrets?
Answer: He’s out of the organization and probably spends every day wondering how he lost his grip on a billion-dollar empire. I don’t know that there is any sort of formal non-disclosure agreement but I doubt he would do anything to harm the Yankees.
Shane writes:Â Do you think with Joe Girardi at the helm Chien-Ming Wang will throw more complete games a la Brandon Webb? I think he could be a monster if they justÂ let him pitch. I hope to see my question answered in your mail bag!
Answer: I don’t think complete games are that important. Wang’s job is to pitch into the seventh or eighth inning. Unless he’s around 90 pitches and the game is close, what is the point of having him go nine innings? You want a starter to give you 200+ innings and 33 or 34 starts, not get complete games. Often times, going nine innings wears a pitcher out for his next start.
Jess writes:Â Since Andy Phillips is gone and Big G isn’t an everyday first baseman, how about getting Tony Clark back for some part-time duty and some pop off the bench?
Answer: I’m not sure the Yankees need another 1B wiith Shelley Duncan and Wilson Betemit around. That said, Tony Clark is one of the best guys in the game and it would be great for the Yankees to have him around. But they don’t need him.
Jeff writes:Â Just wondering if the Yanks have considered moving Hideki Matsui to first base? I know that they don’t need yet another option there, but I have heard that he played there before he was on the Giants.
Answer: I don’t see it. Matsui has been an outfielder most of his career and all of his career with the Yankees. I think you’d see Johnny Damon there before Godzilla.
Steve writes: With the injuries that stole a lot of innings from Phil Hughes 2007 season, do you know why the Yankees didn’t send him to play at least another few weeks in Hawaii or other winter league? It seemed like he was getting back to full strength in September and October, so he could have used the additional innings to build up his arm and work on his change up.
Answer: The Hawaii Winter League is for prospects, not major leaguers. Perhaps Hughes could have used some starts in the Dominican League. But he ended on a good note and the Yankees probably wanted him to work on staying healthy.
David Chase writes: I have a question about the media perception of Giambi. Every time a reporter mentions the Yankees 1B situation, they seem to trash Giambi’s defense. He makes great scoops on marginal throws, and fields everything hit his way. I know he throws poorly, but as a first-baseman, those opportunities are limited. Why all the hating on Giambi’s D?
Answer: If this is David Chase of Sopranos fame, I have a question for you. Did Tony die? As for The Big G, his range is about a foot either way and he invariably suffers an injury of some sort if he plays in the field on a regular basis. He does have good hands but the ball has to be right in front of him.
Jamme writes: With the latest Yankee roster issues, why canâ€™t the Yankees send some of their young players who still have options remaining down to the minors to make room for other players?
Answers: Options apply only to how many times a player can be sent from the 25-man roster back to the minors. A player can only be taken off the 40-man roster by release or trade or retirement.
Howard writes: So why exactly did the Yanks cut Doug Mientkiewicz loose?
Answer: Minkly has had a hard time staying healthy in recent years and is a lefty hitter, something the Yankees are overloaded with. They seem pretty determined to give Shelley Duncan a shot or perhaps Wilson Betemit.
Jennifer writes: Off-topic, what is the best Springsteen show you have seen?
Answer: Excellent question. July 1, 2000 at Madison Square Garden. It was the final show of the E Street Band Reunion Tour and the last night of a 10-show run at MSG. I attended eight of the shows but the last one was the best. I was in the fifth row from the stage and they did Lost In The Flood for the first time in several decades. The set list was just about perfect. I just got tickets for July 31 at Giants Stadium.
Eddie writes: Pete, what do baseball writers do in the winter?
Answer: You been paying attention, bro? The Yankees dumped a manager, hired a manager, signed four prominent free agents, engaged in trade talks for Johan Santana and got a bunch of guys mentioned in the Mitchell Report. I’ve been busier than I was during the season. I’ll be on vacation for the next two weeks and then January is sort of a down time unless there is big news. But I’ll update the blog whenever I can.
Thanks to everybody who wrote in.