Desperate Yankees GM wants to bring Chipper Jones out of retirement
Chipper Jones putting on pinstripes?
The banged-up New York Yankees would love to have him. General manager Brian Cashman even said so Monday, expressing interest in the retired Atlanta Braves star.
"He'd be perfect," Cashman said at Yankees' camp in Tampa. "I'd take Larry in a heartbeat. I think everybody would."
Yankees sign OF Ben Francisco
Ben Francisco wasn't out of work for long.
The 31-year-old signed a minor league contract with the New York Yankees on Monday, just hours after Cleveland released the former Toronto Blue Jays outfielder.
Francisco hit .400 (8-for-20) in 11 games for the Indians this spring with six doubles and two runs batted in. Cleveland drafted the native of Santa Ana, Calif., in the fifth round of the 2002 amateur draft.
He spent last season with Houston, Tampa and Toronto, combining for a .240 batting average with four home runs and 15 RBIs in 82 games.
Francisco is a career .257 hitter with 49 homers and 189 RBIs in 542 major league contests over parts of six seasons.
He has appeared in 17 playoff games, all with Philadelphia, and hit .105 with three RBIs.
— Doug Harrison, CBCSports.ca
The eight-time All-Star third baseman — better known by his nickname than actual first name — quickly ended such talk.
"Enough with the rumours!" Jones tweeted. "While I am flattered about the speculation of being enticed out of retirement, I'm happy with life as a bad golfer!"
Pretty much what everyone figured.
"I can imagine a lot of things in baseball," Braves coach and former third baseman Terry Pendleton said, "but Chipper playing for the Yankees isn't one of them."
"I think you'd have a lot of people in Atlanta pretty mad if that happened. He's a man of his word and he says he's done," he said. "But it might help the Yankees with their attendance. I think a lot of Mets fans would come over to Yankee Stadium to boo him."
Still, it was a fun thought — Jones and Derek Jeter together on the left side of the infield. At least for a minute.
"He has the utmost respect for the Yankees' organization, but his legacy is and will always be with the Braves," Jones' agent, B.B. Abbott, told The Associated Press in a text message.
Jones bowed out last fall after playing all 19 seasons in Atlanta, hitting .303 with 468 home runs. A month shy of turning 41, Jones recently spent a few days at spring training with his old team.
In a jam because of injuries, Cashman just came up with the idea.
"I already know the answer, but might as well throw it out there anyway," he said.
The Yankees are on the prowl, however. They are missing third baseman Alex Rodriguez, sidelined until July or longer after hip surgery, and first baseman Mark Teixeira, out until May because of a strained tendon in his right wrist.
Newcomer Kevin Youkilis can play either corner infield spot, but not at the same time. He made his first spring training start at first base on Monday against St. Louis.
A more realistic option is 37-year-old Derrek Lee, who hasn't played since 2011, when he hit .267 with 19 homers and 59 RBIs for Baltimore and Pittsburgh. Cashman talked to Lee and the first baseman appeared to be intrigued.
"It's an out-of-the-box thought," Cashman said. "I just know that he was a Yankee-type of player. If he was game, I bet he still has game."
"Nothing ventured, nothing gained," Cashman said.
Exactly, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
"Never any harm in asking Chipper," he said before Atlanta played Washington. "But, uh, no."