|NEW YORK -- The New York Yankees are giving Dwight Gooden
yet another chance.
The 35-year-old right-hander, 10 victories shy of 200 in the
major leagues, has signed a minor league contract with the Yankees.
"We still feel like he has something left in his arm," Yankees
pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre said Sunday. Stottlemyre coached
Gooden with the Mets and the Yankees.
Gooden, released by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays two weeks ago, told
The Sunday Record of Hackensack that he was "totally blown away"
at the opportunity to pitch for the Yankees again.
"George Steinbrenner is giving me a chance, and I'm going to
make the most of it," he told the paper.
Steinbrenner gave Gooden a chance before. The right-hander
joined the Yankees in 1996 after missing the 1995 season because of
a drug suspension.
"They love him here," Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter said.
"there are certain guys that New Yorkers always love. Doc is one
of those guys. It seems like wherever he is he is always popular
Gooden threw the ninth no-hitter in club history May 14, 1996,
against the Mariners. He went 20-12 with a 4.58 ERA in two seasons
with the Yankees, but left following injuries and personal
differences with manager Joe Torre.
Gooden was 2-3 with a 6.86 ERA for Houston and Tampa Bay this
season. He is 190-110 with a 3.51 ERA for his career.
But the Yankees, who might have to put Ramiro Mendoza on the
disabled list, have little risk in signing Gooden because the Devil
Rays will pay the bulk of his $500,000 salary.
Gooden will spend at least a week working at the club's minor
league complex in Tampa, Fla., and will go to Triple-A Columbus
when his arm strength is back.
"We want to get him into shape and maybe he can provide us a
little insurance," Stottlemyre said. "You never know when you are
going to need some more pitching."
Despite release, Gooden not ready to retire
Astros trade Gooden to Devil Rays for cash