02/27/2013 5:53 PM ET
MLBPA not concerned about Yanks reducing payroll
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
TAMPA, Fla. -- Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner vowed to reduce payroll below $189 million in 2014, but Michael Weiner said the Major League Baseball Players Association is "not overly concerned" by the team's financial goals.
"I can't say it concerns me," the MLBPA executive director said on Wednesday at Yankees camp. "I imagine Mr. Steinbrenner is sincere when he says that, but like a lot of things, I'll believe it when I see it."
Weiner said that the MLBPA knew that the Yankees would be tempted to reduce payroll because of the incentives built into the new Basic Agreement. If the Yankees can avoid paying the luxury tax in 2014, they would reset to a first-time offender rate of 17.5 percent if they exceeded $189 million in a future season.
"If the Yankees decide to drop their payroll to do that, I'm not concerned, because they're dropping their payroll to put themselves in position to greatly increase their payroll the next year," Weiner said. "That incentive was understood."
Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, should the Yankees exceed $189 million in 2014, they would be taxed at a 50 percent penalty rate. The Yankees have been hit with the luxury tax every season since it was introduced in 2003, and paid a $19.3 million penalty last season.
Weiner said that he does not expect the new revenue sharing disqualification program to benefit the Yankees as greatly as originally thought. The Yankees thought they might receive a rebate from clubs in larger markets, but those projections have changed because teams like the Blue Jays, Nationals and Braves are now projecting higher revenues.
"The market disqualification part of it, I'm much more skeptical about that incentive for the Yankees," Weiner said. "You can throw out all kinds of different numbers as to what the Yankees might garner from the market disqualification pool. But I think when the numbers are in, that pool is going to be much, much smaller than the Yankees or some people have suggested it's going to be."
Girardi uncertain if Hughes will be ready by April
TAMPA, Fla. -- Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that he is still waiting for Phil Hughes to be cleared to resume throwing and acknowledged on Wednesday that there is a chance the right-hander will not be ready to begin the season.
"It's possible," Girardi said. "I think it's too early to tell that, though."
Hughes has been limited to aquatic exercises and underwater treadmill work at the Yankees' Minor League complex for the last week after a bulging disk was identified in his upper back. Hughes said that he has already missed too much of the spring for his taste.
"All I know is I'm pain free, so I'm going to try to move this thing along as quickly as possible," Hughes said. "But obviously I have to go with what the doctor says and make sure it's completely calmed down before I can do anything."
Girardi said that Hughes needs to make four Grapefruit League starts to build his stamina into the area of 75-80 pitches, which would be enough to break camp with the club.
"Every day is worse in that I'm not throwing, but it's a double-edged sword," Hughes said. "I don't want to push this thing and have it become a recurring issue. I want to make sure that it's over and done with. At the same time, every day is a day lost, so I'm kind of in that in-between zone."
Yanks being cautious with Youkilis' sore oblique
TAMPA, Fla. -- Kevin Youkilis said that he hopes to return to the Yankees' spring lineup on Thursday after missing two days with what he called a cramp above his left hip.
The Yankees officially termed Youkilis' injury as a sore left oblique. Youkilis said that he is "perfectly all right" and resumed swinging a fungo bat on Wednesday with no problems.
"If they let me play [Thursday], I'm totally in for playing tomorrow," Youkilis said. "We don't usually even play games until March 1. I like playing baseball and don't like sitting around, so that's the only worry I have all the time. I like being out there playing."
Manager Joe Girardi scratched Youkilis from Tuesday's roster against the Phillies in Clearwater, Fla., and told Youkilis that the team wanted to be cautious at this stage of the spring.
"For me, the limitations of holding me back stinks, but I understand what they're doing," Youkilis said. "And it makes a lot of sense."
In the meantime, Youkilis said that there's no need to burn his down time thinking about the Yankee Stadium roll call and how he'll respond when the Bleacher Creatures chant his name for the first time on April 1.
"I'll probably ask [Derek] Jeter what to do, and whatever Jeter tells me to do, I'll do," Youkilis said. "We'll figure it out."
Teixeira tired of ongoing PED discussion
TAMPA, Fla. -- Mark Teixeira has been an outspoken critic of performance-enhancing drug use in baseball, commenting that he is "sick" of the topic being discussed, and the Yankees first baseman said that he is not alone among his peers.
"Most guys are on the same page, generally speaking," Teixeira said. "I don't even want a kid to look at me and say, 'Oh, he just hit three homers in a game, he's probably on steroids.' That's a tough thing.
"It's part of our job, it's been part of baseball for a long time, it's not going to go away. But we just have to, in our minds, know that we're doing everything we possibly can."
Teixeira's comments came after a visit to the Yanks' clubhouse from Michael Weiner, the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association. Weiner has been touring big league camps and, among other topics, has briefed players on the increased testing for this season -- including blood tests for HGH, which will now be administered randomly in-season.
Weiner said that the sentiments expressed by Teixeira have been commonly heard in the wake of MLB's ongoing investigation into biochemist Anthony Bosch and his now-defunct Biogenesis clinic in Coral Gables, Fla.
"That is the view of the players," Weiner said. "I use those words in my talk. I said, 'I know you guys are sick of this subject and I know you want a clean game.' The players understand that we have a statutory, a legal obligation to represent any player who is subject to discipline or accused of wrongdoing, but the players also understand that we also have a legal obligation to the joint drug program.
"There's no mistake as to where the sentiment of the players are. Mark is right, they are sick of this issue. They would much rather focus on all the positives that the game of baseball is producing. If there is something going on, whether it's in Miami or otherwise, they want us to get to the bottom of it."
Teixeira said that the most important advance would be to have science continue moving forward so players are not tempted to think they can escape punishment. Teixeira said that, as a baseball fan, he believes the testing policies already in place have been working.
"I've been a 30/100 [homers, RBIs] guy my entire career," Teixeira said. "There were times early in my career guys were hitting 60 [homers] and 140 [RBIs], and you go, 'Goodness, there's nothing I can do.' I can't take that many swings. I can never hit 60 home runs. I think those days are over, and that's good.
"Guys aren't hitting 60 or 70 home runs anymore. In that case, people can look at it and say, 'OK, we're back to a more normal time period.' That's not to say there aren't people still trying to cheat, but the days of guys being twice the size they should be and hitting 60 homers a year, I think those days are over."