© St. Petersburg Times, published February 4, 2003
TAMPA -- Derek Jeter isn't about to get into an argument with George Steinbrenner about the owner's accusations that the New York Yankees shortstop isn't focused enough on baseball.
"One thing you realize is, the Boss is the Boss," Jeter said Monday. "Right or wrong, he can say what he wants to say."
In an interview with the New York Daily News in December, Steinbrenner said Jeter was staying out too late and spending too much time on nonbaseball activities.
"I want to see Jeter truly focused," Steinbrenner told the paper. "He wasn't totally focused last year. He had the highest number of errors he's had in some time."
Jeter, a four-time All-Star, hit .297 with 18 homers and 75 RBIs last season. He made 14 errors. "We met, we talked about it and it's pretty much over with," Jeter said.
As he does each season, Jeter is among the players participating in early workouts.
Pitcher David Wells was also at the Yankees' complex and again indicated this season might be his last. "I'm looking at it as if it is and I'm going to have some fun," said Wells, who turns 40 in May. "I feel great."
PHILADELPHIA -- Leftfielder Pat Burrell and the Phillies have agreed on a $50-million, six-year contract in the latest big move by the team.
Coming off a 14th losing season in 16 years, Philly has been one of the most aggressive teams, signing first baseman Jim Thome and third baseman David Bell and trading for pitcher Kevin Millwood.
The Phillies, hesitant to spend money in the past, have committed nearly $162-million to the four players as they try to build a championship team when they move into a new ballpark in 2004.
"I'm glad to be a part of the big puzzle they put together this offseason," Burrell said. "With the team we have now, we should be winning."
Burrell, 26, hit .282 with 37 homers and 116 RBIs last season, the best Phillies offensive performance since Mike Schmidt had 37 homers and 119 RBIs in 1986.
MILLAR CASE: A representative of the Chunichi Dragons met with major-league officials in an effort to end the team's dispute with outfielder Kevin Millar. Millar agreed in early January to a $6.2-million, two-year contract with the Dragons of Japan's Central League. The Dragons paid $1.2-million to the Marlins for Millar's rights, and Florida put the outfielder on waivers, seeking his unconditional release. Boston then showed interest in acquiring Millar, filing a waiver claim, which the player rejected. Millar was due to report to the Japanese team last weekend, but changed his mind, saying he did not want to play overseas when it was possible the United States would be at war.
CAMINITI DELAY: Former NL MVP Ken Caminiti won a one-day delay of a court appearance scheduled after he tested positive last week for cocaine use.
ROSE CASE: The commissioner's office hired a former federal prosecutor to work on its evaluation of Pete Rose's application for reinstatement. Martin Weinstein, a partner in the Washington office of Foley & Lardner, has been working on the Rose case since shortly after the career hits leader applied for reinstatement in 1997, according to Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer.
DODGERS: The team reached a deal with reliever Giovanni Carrara on a $790,000, one-year contract.
EXPOS: A suburban New York businessman says he wants to buy the team and move it to Washington but has had only preliminary contact with baseball officials in the District of Columbia. Mark Broxmeyer called a news conference to discuss his interest in the Expos, who are owned by the other 29 major-league teams and are for sale. Baseball officials, however, have been dealing with government groups, not potential owners, as they start the process of selling the Expos.
METS: Mike Glavine, younger brother of the team's new ace, agreed to a minor-league contract. Mike Glavine, 30, hit .273 last season with the Somerset Patriots of the Independent Atlantic League. He had 29 doubles, 21 homers and 66 RBIs. The team also hired former major-leaguer Brett Butler as a part-time minor-league outfield and baserunning instructor.
PADRES: Free-agent infielder Keith Lockhart was signed to a minor-league contract and invited to spring training.
PIRATES: Kevin McClatchy, inadvertently or not, became the first major-league owner to acknowledge that collusion occurred during the 1980s. Asked if owners colluded this winter to drive down players salaries, McClatchy told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "No, unequivocally no. That happened several years ago, before I came on board. I'm sure everyone learned their lesson." Arbitrators ruled owners violated their labor contract by acting in concert against free agents after the 1985, 1986 and 1987 seasons.
REDS: Owner Carl Lindner is in Marge Schott's doghouse. The team's former owner sued Lindner's Great American Insurance Co. over the seats she was given in the club's new ballpark, which opens March 31. Schott asked that the court determine the seats she is entitled to in the new stadium. She said the 1999 agreement under which she sold control of the Reds guarantees her use of the premium-section seats.
RED SOX: Infielder Lou Merloni agreed to a $560,000, one-year contract.