Cashman: Yankees monitoring homers

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Wednesday the team will monitor the number of home runs hit in its new stadium but cautioned it's too soon to make a judgment and suggested it was part of a wider phenomenon.

Cashman, speaking at Southern Connecticut State University, said the sample is small because the season has just started.

"It's something we're going to have to keep our eye on because clearly the numbers don't lie," Cashman said.

But Cashman also said home runs are traveling about eight feet farther so far this year compared to last season.

"It's possible that the ballpark is a home run-type park," Cashman said in an interview before his talk. "We'll see. The ball is going farther in every park, not just ours."

There have been 26 home runs at the stadium, one more than the previous record for the first six games at a major league venue. That had been established at Kansas City's Municipal Stadium in 1955, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

In a wide-ranging talk with ESPN's Peter Gammons, Cashman said he was shocked when he learned that Alex Rodriguez had tested positive for steroids in 2003.

"It caught us all off-guard," Cashman said. "But at the same time I'm not shocked about anything any more."

Cashman said he would no longer say a player was not using steroids "because I've done that and I've been wrong."

He blamed the players' union for resisting steroids testing in the past.

Cashman defended his decision before the 2008 season not to acquire star pitcher Johan Santana, who wound up with the New York Mets, citing among other reasons that he wanted to keep several prospects. Cashman said owner George Steinbrenner called him at one point and told him to stick to his guns on the decision.

Cashman also said the loss of catcher Jorge Posada to a shoulder injury was a key to the Yankees' poor season last year. The Yankees missed the playoffs last season for the first time in a non-strike year since 1993.

Cashman said the Baltimore Orioles are an up-and-coming team, comparing them to the Tampa Bay Rays who emerged as the American League champions last year.