Cashman: Book 'tarnishes the Yankees' image'
Monday, March 3
ESPN.com news services
TAMPA, Fla. -- David Wells could be punished by the New York Yankees for writing an autobiography that general manager Brian Cashman said "tarnishes the Yankees' image."
While Wells tried to put the controversy surrounding his upcoming book to rest by addressing the team Sunday, it's clear the issue won't be resolved any time soon.
"I can't rule out the possibility that we will pursue some sort of disciplinary action," Cashman said. "I'm going to get a copy of the book, read it myself and then determine what course of action, if any, to take."
Commissioner Bud Selig wants to read Wells' autobiography before deciding whether baseball should take disciplinary action against the pitcher.
"I'd like to read it before I comment,'' Selig said Monday. "But I think any of you who know me pretty well can answer that by yourself.''
Yankees owner George Steinbrenner told reporters Monday he has no plans to talk with Wells about the book.
"I haven't heard much about it except what you guys write," Steinbrenner said. "I'm not reading it, so I don't really know. Talk to Cashman, talk to (Joe) Torre. Those are the two people you have to talk to. I've got these guys to handle it."
If the Yankees decide to punish Wells, Cashman said the pitcher would have representation to counter any charges the team might make.
Wells apologized to Cashman on Saturday and didn't know whether there would be any discipline.
"That's up to them," Wells said. "I have no control over what they do. I hope they don't do anything."
Wells also apologized to his teammates during a closed-door, 20-minute clubhouse meeting Sunday.
Cashman plans to begin reading the book Monday. In galleys of the autobiography, Wells claims he was "half drunk" when he pitched a perfect game in 1998, takes digs at teammates Roger Clemens and Mike Mussina and says drugs are rampant in baseball.
Wells said Saturday that he had a hangover but was not drunk for his perfect game. A day later, he said he stands by everything that will be in the book when it's released March 14.
But he still felt he needed to address the team.
So at about 10:15 a.m., the Yankees held a team meeting and Wells spoke for about 5-to-7 minutes. A few other players asked questions before the meeting ended.
"I got my point across today," Wells said. "I feel a lot better. I told them what I needed to say."
Cashman and manager Joe Torre said that Wells wasn't ordered to address the team but were pleased he chose to do so.
"It looks like he feels extremely bad about the situation," Cashman said. "My understanding is that he gathered teammates and huddled them together and is dealing with this problem now. He's trying to mend fences, do damage control and fix things."
The Yankees did not want to talk about the details of the meeting but thought it was productive.
"I don't think he needed any encouragement because he felt badly when we talked the other day," Torre said. "He felt like he needed to get it out. Hopefully, we can move on."
This is just the latest distraction in spring training for the Yankees, who have also dealt with Steinbrenner's criticisms of star Derek Jeter and Torre's coaching staff.
While Steinbrenner complained to the New York Daily News in December about Jeter's late-night habits, he has had nothing public to say about Wells, who talked about partying all night before his perfect game.
"I have a general manager and a manager and they'll take care of whatever needs to be taken care of," Steinbrenner said.
Jeter wouldn't talk about what seems like a double standard.
"I'm done with that situation," Jeter said. "You'd have to ask him that question. I always ask myself questions. I just keep it to myself."
Wells is one of Steinbrenner's favorite players, and the Boss personally lured him back to New York after the 2001 season.
The move looked good most of last year when Wells went 19-7 with a 3.75 ERA. But he got into a late-night fight at a New York diner in September and was hammered in his only postseason start as the Yankees were eliminated by Anaheim in the first round of the playoffs.
Wells hopes the book won't compromise his relationship with Steinbrenner.
"He's done some crazy things in his life, too," Wells said. "A lot of people have. I'm a different breed from most people. I've done some things other people don't do. I speak my mind and sometimes that gets me into trouble."
Torre said his biggest concern over the book was whether it would distract the team. The players don't think that will be a problem.
"If every little thing around here bothered us, we'd have a lot of trouble," Mussina said.
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