Former Yankees batboy reveals clubhouse secrets in book

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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.

James Paxton will “nerd out big-time” to stay healthy next year

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To the surprise of, well, very few, the Mariners didn’t make the cut for the postseason this year. While they threw their hats in the ring for a wild card berth, their pitching staff just couldn’t stay healthy, from the handful of pitchers who contracted season-ending injuries in spring training to Felix Hernandez‘s shoulder bursitis to structural damage in Hisashi Iwakuma‘s right shoulder. Left-hander James Paxton missed 79 days with a lingering head cold, strained left forearm and pectoral strain. Heading into the 2018 season, the lefty told MLB.com’s Greg Johns that he plans to “nerd out big-time” in order to prepare for a healthy, consistent run with the club.

So far, Johns reports, that entails a new diet and workout program, hot yoga sessions and blood testing. “I just think there’s more I can do,” Paxton said. “I haven’t done the blood testing before. Finding out if there’s something I don’t know about myself. It’s just about learning and trying to find what works for me.”

When healthy, the 28-year-old southpaw was lights-out for the Mariners. He helped stabilize the front end of the rotation with a 12-5 record in 24 starts and supplemented his efforts with a 2.98 ERA, 2.4 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 136 innings. Despite taking multiple trips to the disabled list, he built up 4.6 fWAR — the most wins above replacement he’s compiled in any season of his career to date. Had he not been felled by a pectoral injury in mid-August — one that came with a five-week trip to the disabled list — the club might have been been able to make a bigger push for the playoffs.

Of course, even if Paxton manages to stay healthy next season, the Mariners still have the rest of the rotation to worry about. They cycled through 17 starters in 2017 and tied the 2014 Rangers with 40 total pitchers over the course of the season. Per GM Jerry Dipoto, their top four starters (Paxton, Hernandez, Iwakuma, and Tommy John candidate Drew Smyly) only contributed 17% of total innings pitched, just a tad below the 40% average. Finding adequate big league arms and compensating for injured aces (both current and former) will be tough. Still, getting a healthy, dominant Paxton back on the mound for 30+ starts would be a huge get for the team — whether or not the postseason is in their future next year.