UPDATE: MLB issues a statement denying the Yankees sale rumors

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UPDATE: Apparently the “Yankees could be sold” thing is a rumor so baseless that even MLB has issued a statement on the thing:

  “Major League Baseball has received no indications from any representatives of the New York Yankees or anyone else that the Club is for sale.”

So, in addition to the owners calling the news story “fiction,” there being no practical way for the team to be sold due to tax consequences and one of the writers of the article itself all but admitting it’s bull, the league has called it nonsense.

Good work, Daily News!  Please remember this the next time one of the people who work for you point at some internet writer and accuse them of ruining journalism.

9:01 AM: I tell ya, if George Steinbrenner were alive he’d be so mad at how the Yankees have been playing he’d get rid of the team! THE ENTIRE TEAM!

Rumors are flying in Major League Baseball and New York banking circles that the family that has owned Major League Baseball’s premiere franchise since Cleveland shipbuilder George Steinbrenner purchased the club for $8.8 million in 1973 is exploring the possibility of selling the Yankees.

Multiple baseball and finance sources told the Daily News they are hearing that the team the Steinbrenner family has led to seven World Series titles could be put on the block in the wake of the record sale price of $2.175 billion the Los Angeles Dodgers went for in April.

While it would seem to make decent financial sense to at least consider the possibility — if the Dodgers are worth a couple of billion the Yankees have to be worth more and, really, how much higher can franchise values go? — team president Randy Levine denied the rumors, saying that “there is absolutely, positively nothing to this.” Hal Steinbrenner called it “complete fiction.”

What’s more, the speculation in the article about it being a good time because the team is aging should probably be ignored. Because really, the value of the Yankees is not something that is going to crater or peak based on a ten-game swing of wins from one year to the rest. If they are ever sold it will be because someone is valuing them as an enduring entertainment and marketing brand, not as a team that, in a given year, may contend in the AL East.

That said, (a) if I was thinking of selling the team I wouldn’t admit it either; and (b) again, how much higher can franchise values climb?  If someone wanted to give you, I dunno, three billion for the Yankees, wouldn’t you be an idiot not to take it? That’s the likely source of this stuff — banker speculation and out-of-the-loop figurin’, not any real interest on the Yankees part to sell.

UPDATE: This seems to have less meat to it than a vegan cookout:

But hey, it’s fun to make stuff up too.  Also: Bill Madden of the Daily News is apparently on New York radio this morning being asked about it and people who are listening are saying that he’s all but saying it’s a b.s. story but is stopping just short given that, you know, his colleagues wrote it.  Oh, wait, his name is second on the byline.  Great job, Spink Award Winning Writer Bill Madden!

Sandy Leon homered twice in one inning, including a grand slam

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Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon achieved a rare feat during Monday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition against the Orioles: he homered twice in one inning. One of those homers happened to be a grand slam.

Leon led off the top of the fifth inning with a solo home run off of Logan Verrett. Verrett continued to get knocked around, giving up three singles and a walk before being relieved by Brian Moran. Moran gave up a walk to load the bases, then a single to knock in a run and keep the bases loaded. Leon stepped back to the plate and swatted a grand slam to left field, making it an eight-run fifth for the Red Sox. The Sox would tack on one more before the inning was mercifully ended.

How often do players homer twice in one inning during the regular season? Not that often. Since 2010, the feat has been accomplished four times in the American League and twice in the National League. The Orioles’ Mark Trumbo was the only one to do it last year.

As for Leon, he’s on track to open the season as the starting catcher in Boston, Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald reported last week.

Phillies release veteran catchers Ryan Hanigan and Bryan Holaday

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The Phillies announced on Monday that the club released veteran catchers Ryan Hanigan and Bryan Holaday. Both were competing for the back-up catcher spot on the team’s 25-man roster. With both out of the picture, that means Andrew Knapp has won that honor.

Knapp, 25, hit a combined .266/.330/.390 with eight home runs and 46 RBI in 443 plate appearances last year at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He did not have a great spring but has hit well as of late, which likely pushed him ahead of Hanigan and Holaday. Knapp will serve as the understudy to starting catcher Cameron Rupp.