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CalifYanksFan
07-17-01, 03:04 PM
Yankees: Morales released, age cited

07/17/01

BY DAN GRAZIANO
STAR-LEDGER STAFF















PHILADELPHIA -- The Yankees are attempting to back out of the four-year, $4.5 million contract they gave Cuban third baseman Andy Morales in the spring, but Morales' agent isn't going to let them off easy.


Citing evidence they believe proves Morales is 30 years old and not the 27 he claimed to be when he defected and signed, the Yankees have released Morales from their Double-A Norwich team. But agent Gus Dominguez has filed a grievance with the players' union.


Morales' poor performance on the field may have given the Yankees reason to be concerned about his age. In 48 games at Norwich, Morales has a .231 batting average with five extra-base hits.


"I don't know what I can say about that," said Dominguez, when asked if Morales' play is the main factor in the Yankees' decision. "Other than, does this happen with other players whose age is in question?"


It does not, and a perfect case in point is pitcher Orlando Hernandez, who is universally believed to be three or four years older than the 31 the Yankees' media guide claims he is. A Yankees official even acknowledged Hernandez's age discrepancy in a recent book about the pitcher, "The Duke of Havana."


The Yankees offered no comment on the Morales situation. Dominguez said he believes he will hear from the union soon regarding the status of the grievance.


"We'll see what happens when both sides get together," Dominguez said. "I know one thing, though. I know he's not AWOL as the Yankees claim he is. He's at home right now. I know exactly where he is."


Dominguez would not specify Morales' location other than to say he is in this country.Hernandez, who has beenon the disabled list since May 26 and had surgery on his left foot, threw a ball yesterday, manager Joe Torre said. Torre also said he's expecting Hernandez back in action in about six weeks, using a familiar timetable as a guideline.


"This is basically the start of spring training for him right now," Torre said. "Just the fact that he's throwing now is a good sign."Outfielder/DH David Justice,on the DL with a groin injury for the second time this season, hit balls off a tee yesterday in Tampa, Fla., and plans to take live batting practice on Friday. He also has been running on a treadmill, but Torre said Justice would have to go on a minor-league rehab assignment or at least play some simulated games before being cleared to return.Ted Lilly will startthe first game of Wednesday's doubleheader in Detroit, but the Game 2 starter remains undecided. Because of the recent heavy workload of the bullpen, Torre said after last night's game that there's a "100 percent chance" the Yankees will call up a pitcher from the minor leagues. The leading candidate is right-hander Brandon Knight, who's 9-5 with a 3.62 ERA in 17 games with Triple-A Columbus.Jorge Posada'sfourth-inning home run was his first since June 13, a span of 24 games. ... The first two games of the series, which concludes tonight, drew a total of 105,916 fans to Veterans Stadium.
NJO Online (http://www.nj.com/yankees/ledger/index.ssf?/sports/ledger/13d692a.html)

afsargent
07-27-01, 10:11 AM
Lets just say goodbye to Morales.:o