We’re coming up on three years since former Yankees catcher Jim Leyritz was in the auto accident that claimed the life of Fredia
Ann Veitch, and he still has yet to go to trial. Trial was set to start next week, but that’s on hold because Leyrtiz is taking in interlocutory appeal of a key evidence ruling.
At issue is evidence of Veitch’s blood alcohol content — she herself was over the limit at the time — and whether she was texting at the time of the crash. The judge has struck it from the trial, while Leyritz wants to introduce it into evidence.
Why? Because while there’s a strong belief out there that, because Leyrtiz was drunk, he’s virtually assured of being convicted for manslaughter, legally speaking that’s not the case. If he was drunk but otherwise obeying all traffic laws and didn’t do anything to cause the crash, and if Veitch was the one who did cause it, the most he can be convicted of is DUI. While that seems rather unpalatable given that Veitch is dead and Leyritz is not, her behavior before the crash — legally speaking — would seem pretty critical.
I haven’t been following the case too closely recently so I’m not sure what the basis was for the judge striking the evidence, but if his ruling stands, Leyritz is in deep, deep trouble.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.
Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.
Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.
EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.