Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Yankees Beauty Contest Sees Shea Hillenbrand Lose Personality Competition to Julio Zuleta

Why should Yankees GM Brian Cashman be in any hurry to sign free agent first baseman Shea Hillenbrand, considering Hillenbrand has been described variously as a clubhouse cancer and self-absorbed prima donna, and was literally run out of Toronto as such.

Besides, Cashman has an ace in the hole with free agent Julio Zuleta, a 6-foot-five, 250-pound righty first baseman who has been pounding Japanese pitchers -- in more ways than one.

Oh, Zuleta hits homers, all right; he also has been fined some $10,000 by his league plus approximately $3,000 by his team after charging the mound last season and laying a beating on pitcher Satoru Kanemura.

The attack was so severe that Kanemura landed on the disabled list and Zuleta sat out 10 days in a resulting suspension, his sixth turn in the penalty box since he left the U.S. to play in Japan. Now there's a clubhouse presence for you.