Yankees News & Notes

GM Brian Cashman plans to meet representatives for RHP Mariano Rivera on Tuesday, March 9th, for talks on a contract extension. While Bernie Williams' recent appendectomy might keep him from game action for three weeks, he won't concede not being ready for Opening Day.

"No," Williams said. "I haven't ruled it out. It all depends on how the next two weeks go." Williams was given clearance to begin mild workouts Monday (March 8), such as easy jogging and throwing. By Thursday (March 11) he could do some light weightlifting and perhaps hit off a batting tee.

"This is very frustrating, but I have to do the best I can with the time I have," Williams said. "Things happen and as a professional player. My job is to overcome the adversity and prepare the best I can."

Williams' first goal is to regain the weight, strength and stamina lost from the surgery.

"He's worked so hard, he can't let that stuff go," manager Joe Torre said. "We just want to get him back to where he was, make sure that he keeps up all of the work he's done all winter."

To make matters worse for the Yankees' outfield, Gary Sheffield could miss anywhere between 2-3 months because of a jammed right thumb suffered trying to get a fly ball hit by Orlando Hudson of the Blue Jays that went for a triple in this past weekend's Spring Training game. An MRI exam on Sunday has left the Yankees seeking a second opinion on Sheffield's thumb. That exam is scheduled for Tuesday.

Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman said the Yankees were not aware of the hand injury when they agreed to the deal with Sheffield, who passed a physical but Cashman did tell the Associate Press: "Now, I'm officially worried about it," referring to Sheffield's injured thumb.


-- 1B Jason Giambi said he has a good relationship with general manager Brian Cashman but acknowledged the edict banning his personal trainer, Bob Alejo, from the clubhouse, weight room and field at Yankee Stadium and all major league facilities comes from a higher authority. Giambi can still work with Alejo but off property, which will be a significant adjustment. "When you play for a long time, you develop habits," Giambi said. "I've always been a routine guy. I was taught that at a young age by (Mark McGwire)."

--RHP Jon Lieber is throwing on the side without pain in his right groin, which sidelined him earlier in camp. Lieber, who hasn't pitched in 19 months following "Tommy John" surgery, anticipates being ready of the start of the season.

--C John Flaherty dislocated his left thumb March 5 and was expected to miss about a week of workouts.

-- Manager Joe Torre needs 14 wins to give him 800 as Yankees' manager.

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