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Zimmer Has Plenty to Say

October 22, 2003|Bill Shaikin and Bill Plaschke | Times Staff Writers

Don Zimmer, the Yankees' 72-year-old bench coach, promised a no-holds-barred account of his stormy season after the World Series.

"I'll say a lot of things five days from now," Zimmer said. "I don't want to distract from this."

Even by the soap-opera standards of the Yankees, this is a week of turmoil. The job security of General Manager Brian Cashman appears tenuous. On Monday, first baseman Jason Giambi confirmed he had received a subpoena to testify before a grand jury investigating a California company that distributes nutritional supplements.

On Tuesday, Boston authorities scheduled a Nov. 7 hearing to determine whether outfielder Karim Garcia and pitcher Jeff Nelson should be charged with assault and battery for their roles in a bullpen fight with a Red Sox groundskeeper during the American League championship series.

Manager Joe Torre said he would talk to his players about handling and addressing off-field issues amid the World Series spotlight.

"I certainly will make sure that the players understand that the stuff, whether they let it distract them or don't, is not going to go away right now," Torre said.

In the moments after Game 7 of the ALCS, Zimmer told the New York Daily News that owner George Steinbrenner did not need to worry about firing him.

"I won't be back," Zimmer said. "I'm a human being, and I ain't been treated like one in 11 months."

Said Zimmer on Tuesday: "Everybody picked up on that and said I was retiring. That's bull."

Zimmer said he had paid the $5,000 he was fined for charging Boston's Pedro Martinez in Game 3 of the ALCS. After fans on a Web site started collecting money to pay the fine, Zimmer said his grandson contacted the fans and arranged for the money to be donated to charity.

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Rob Manfred, baseball's executive vice president of labor, noted that the designer drug being discussed in the Bay Area investigation is not covered under baseball's steroid policy, but added that the policy was flexible.

"We have provisions designed to deal with new substances, and when we have more information, we will deal with those substances," Manfred said.

Manfred noted that baseball's new steroid survey, the results of which will be announced this winter, was thorough.

Contrary to clubhouse chatter, players could not take a steroid test in spring training and then resume taking steroids without risk of being caught.

Of baseball's approximately 1,200 players, 700 were tested in the spring, 500 were tested during the season, and 240 more were randomly tested twice, with the testing going into September.

According to the basic agreement between management and the union, if more than 5% of the players test positive in the survey -- which involves no penalties -- then baseball's new penalty-filled policy can take effect.

"If greater than 5% of the players are positive, we'll have the best testing policy in all of sports," Manfred said.

Even though Giambi and the Giants' Barry Bonds will be questioned as part of the investigation, Gene Orza, union lawyer, claimed it wasn't yet a baseball issue.

"Players aren't targeted," he said. "My understanding is that it's an investigation by the Treasury Department."

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Seattle Mariner pitcher Jamie Moyer won the Roberto Clemente Award for excellence on the field and in the community.

Moyer and his wife, Karen, created the Moyer Foundation in July 2000, to assist children and families struggling through difficult times. The foundation has raised almost $3 million.

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