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N.Y Times "Wild Start May End Juden's Bid" +Sojo + Mendoza & Yarnell By BUSTER OLNEY

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    N.Y Times "Wild Start May End Juden's Bid" +Sojo + Mendoza & Yarnell By BUSTER OLNEY

    March 5, 2000

    Wild Start May End Juden's Bid

    RADENTON, Fla., March 4 -- Spring training games don't count in the standing, but style points are tabulated, and today, Jeff Juden went a long way toward pitching his way out of the Yankees' organization. His disastrous outing occurred during a horribly played 12-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Yankees' third loss in exhibition games.

    Juden, who has bounced around many teams and is most noted for his compilation of brawls, was signed to a $500,000 major league contract for one season, against the wishes of many club officials. Juden needed to pitch effectively in spring training to have a chance to be part of the roster.

    Today, in his first outing, Juden faced eight batters, walking three -- including pitcher Jose Parra -- and hitting two while surrendering five runs in two-thirds of an inning, as George Steinbrenner, the Yankees' principal owner, watched from the stands. If the Yankees release Juden early in spring training, they would be obligated to pay him only one-quarter ($125,000) of his contract.

    "He had absoultely no control of anything," Torre said. "He has absolutely no command at this point."

    Regarding the Yankees' poor play so far, Torre said: "We've got to hit the cutoff man. We've got to do the things we're used to doing."

    Bittersweet Hellos

    Luis Sojo mostly found reasons to laugh and enjoy himself in his four seasons with the Yankees, but today, melancholy overcame the veteran utility man when he was surrounded by the likes of Derek Jeter, Chuck Knoblauch and Paul O'Neill.

    Sojo, trying to win a job as a utilityman with the Pirates, visited with his old teammates before today's exhibition game and had to compose himself. "Kind of sad," Sojo said. "I spent almost four years there, and you're talking about having a very good time. When you get a hug from your boys -- Jeter, Knoblauch and O'Neill -- you get emotional."

    Sojo was highly respected by his teammates, but the Yankees decided in the off-season to use D'Angelo Jimenez in the utility role. Sojo understood their rationale, and signed with the Pirates, the first team to make a firm offer. A week after Sojo agreed to terms, Jimenez broke a bone in his neck in a car wreck -- he is out for the year -- and the Yankees were forced to sign another veteran utilityman, Rafael Bournigal.

    Before doing so, they asked the Pirates about making a deal for Sojo, and were rebuffed, according to a major league official.

    State of the Staff

    Ramiro Mendoza, hampered by bronchitis for more than a week, told the Yankees' trainers today that he felt much better.

    The left-hander Ed Yarnall (sore back) will throw in the bullpen Sunday.


    Too bad Juden didn't look good. I wish he could have been sharp for a couple of outings. That would have been enough to convince the Expos, the Angels, or even Clevland that they should have given us a decent pitching prospect for Juden. It may be too late for that now.

    I never expected him to make the team (he probably didn't either). I had just been hoping that the YANKEES could have corraled another young pitching prospect from a team that is desperate for a starter now.

    With Colorado's ace Pedro Astacio having INS trouble because of his spouse abuse conviction the Rockies are even more desperate than usual to find a pitcher. If Juden was hot this spring maybe the YANKEES could con the Rockies into coughing up young lefty prospect Josh Kalinowski.

    Unless Juden shows some VERY GOOD stuff this week the YANKEES will be releasing him rather than eating the extra money. Other teams know that Juden is not just warming up for the season. They know that unlike most of the players in the YANKEE camp Juden is playing for keeps this spring.

    Now I fear that not even the desperate Angels or Rockies will be willing to give up a decent prospect for Juden.

    Not even the seemingly gullible Florida Marlins would part with Brad Penny or Michael Tejera for Juden at this point.

    If you don't like the YANKEES go to another sight.



      [This message has been edited by Bluesexy's daddy (edited March 06, 2000).]