From George King -
Alex Rodriguez will try to duplicate his scintillating 2007 season without a key member of a very small inner circle.
Mike Borzello, a bullpen catcher for the past 12 seasons and Joe Torre’s godson, has left the Yankees and taken a job with the Dodgers as a catching instructor.
Normally, a support-staff member splitting doesn’t create a huge void. However, Rodriguez leaned on Borzello as a workout partner, and he was one of the few people whose criticism Rodriguez listened to.
Whether it was a 7:30 a.m. spring-training workout fielding ground balls or the daily 3:30 p.m. long-toss session, Borzello was on hand. And when Borzello saw Rodriguez drifting mentally, he wasn’t afraid to say.
“He was good for Alex because he told Alex the truth,” a Yankee employee said of Borzello. “Not everybody does that.”
Without the 37-year-old Borzello, a former minor-league catcher who also is close to Mike Mussina and interacts with the pitcher the same way he does with Rodriguez, it will be interesting to see how Rodriguez reacts.
Nobody in baseball puts more emphasis on routine than Rodriguez, who now needs a workout partner and somebody not afraid to tell the best player in baseball that he isn’t perfect.
A bullpen catcher, who was the godson of the former manager (which was probably the reason why he got the job in the first place), quits – and, it becomes an “A-Rod” story. These are the days of our lives, now, in Yankeeland.
Get used to it – we have ten more years of it coming.