Luis Castillo, who was a Yankees batboy from 1998 to 2005, has a new book coming out called “Clubhouse Confidential” and shared a preview with the New York Post that includes some reasonably interesting behind-the-scenes stories about Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and company.
Assorted highlights from the preview:
* Jeter nicknamed him “Squeegee” immediately because “you look like a Squeegee” and “he names everybody.” (Note: On the book cover, he’s listed as Luis “Squeegee” Castillo.)
* Jeter’s standard greeting to the teenage batboys was “how’re you doin’, biatches?”
* When out at clubs, Jeter’s “preference was for women who had a nice smile and personality.” (Note: For whom is that not a preference, exactly?)
* Jeter often had his personal trainer approach women on his behalf in order to “avoid scandals and gossip.”
* Compared to other star players, Alex Rodriguez was a bad tipper, although he gave Castillo “$100 a week to make sure there was a creatine shake waiting for him after each home game.”
* Rodriguez needed his toothbrush put in a specific place near the sink and had his clothes laid out for him in a specific way.
* Once when a then-married Rodriguez was “on his way out with two blondes on his arms” he spotted Castillo wearing a suit and commented on it, quietly placing $200 in his suit pocket while saying “have a good night.”
* Prior to Game 7 of the ALCS in 2004 the pregame meeting ended with Joe Torre asking the Yankees “what are we going to do?” and Hideki Matsui responding: “Kick ass. Pop champagne. And get some ho’s.” (Note: They lost the game.)
There’s a lot more where those came from in the New York Post article and presumably in the book.
Giants second baseman Joe Panik missed nearly all of August and September last season due to a nagging back injury, but he told Alex Pavlovic of CSNBayArea.com on Friday that he’s feeling “100 percent.”
Panik, who earned his first All-Star selection last season, originally landed on the disabled list in early August due to what was described as lower back inflammation. He made his return in September, but appeared in just three games before being shut down. The good news is that he was cleared by doctors in mid-December and considers himself “back to normal.”
“It was right around the time of all the signings,” he said, smiling. “I was able to fly under the radar. I got tested and everything had healed up. I got cleared and was able to have my full offseason workouts. I’m good to go. I’m happy to be feeling good and going back out on the field to show that I’m healthy. My swing feels strong.”
Panik altered his offseason workout routine and plans to spend less time in his spikes in the early part of spring training. The hope is that these changes will prevent future issues.
After a strong showing as a rookie in 2014, the 25-year-old Panik proved to be one of the best second baseman in the majors last season by batting .312/.378/.455 with eight home runs and 37 RBI over 100 games while playing solid defense.
Baseball America unveiled their top 100 prospect list Friday night during a special on MLB Network. It should come as no surprise that Dodgers infielder Corey Seager came in at No. 1.
This makes Seager the consensus top prospect in the game. He was also ranked first by MLB.com, Baseball Prospectus, and ESPN’s Keith Law. Twins outfielder Byron Buxton was ranked second on all four lists.
Baseball America has the most aggressive ranking of Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada from the Red Sox, who checked in at No. 3. He was followed by pitching prospects Lucas Giolito from the Nationals and Julio Urias from the Dodgers to round out the top five.
You can see Baseball America’s full top 100 list here.
Mets reliever Jenrry Mejia was permanently suspended on Friday after testing positive for a third time for a performance-enhancing drug. The right-hander is maintaining his innocence, as ESPN’s Adam Rubin notes in quoting Dominican sports journalist Hector Gomez. Mejia said, “It is not like they say. I am sure that I did not use anything.”
Mejia has the opportunity to petition commissioner Rob Manfred in one year for reinstatement to Major League Baseball. However, he must sit out at least two years before becoming eligible to pitch in the majors again, which would mean Mejia would be 28 years old.
Over parts of five seasons, Mejia has a career 3.68 ERA with 162 strikeouts and 76 walks over 183 1/3 innings. He was once a top prospect in the Mets’ minor league system and a top-100 overall prospect heading into the 2010 and ’11 seasons.
Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper is at least three years away from free agency, but people are already contemplating just how large a contract the phenom will be able to negotiate, especially after taking home the National League Most Valuable Player Award for his performance this past season.
When the likes of David Price and Zack Greinke are signing for over $200 million at the age of 30 or older, it stands to reason that Harper could draw more as a 26-year-old if he can maintain MVP-esque levels of production over the next several seasons. $400 million might not be enough for Harper, though, as MLB.com’s Jamal Collier reports. He said, “Don’t sell me short,” which is a fantastic response.
During the 2015 season, Harper led the majors with a .460 on-base percentage and a .649 slugging percentage while leading the National League with 42 home runs and 118 runs scored. He also knocked in 99 runs for good measure. Harper and Ted Williams are the only hitters in baseball history to put up an adjusted OPS of 195 or better (100 is average) at the age of 22 or younger.