Apologies for the delay. I haven't been myself these last couple of days. Sore throat, cough, fatigue. Hoping to get back on track today and, starting tomorrow, have posts up at the normal 9:30ish in the morning.

Anywho, I'm here at MLB headquarters in Manhattan, where the owners' meetings just broke up and Bud Selig addressed the media. Here's the lowdown:

--Regarding the highly controversial Arizona immigration law, Selig wouldn't commit either way on the 2011 All-Star Game, currently scheduled to be held at Chase Field in Phoenix.

But I consider myself about an intermediate in converting Selig to English, and my take was: Selig absolutely wants to keep the game in Phoenix. It would be devastating to the Diamondbacks to take it out. And when the criticism comes, he's going to boast of baseball's history on diversity issues.

"We’re a social institution. We have enormous social responsibilities," Selig said. "…We’ve done well. And will continue to do well."

You see those three dots before "We've done well"? Those three dots represent about three minutes of touting MLB's role in diversity. From these plaudits from Richard Lapchick to this honor from the Jackie Robinson Foundation (scroll down).

I agree that baseball has been relatively ahead of the curve on this issue. But I'm not sure how much coverage that should give MLB on the issue of the All-Star Game. Ultimately, though, today's speech makes it clear that the fate of next year's Mid-Summer Classic lies in the hands of the players. Will they determine it important enough to expend huge political capital to boycott the game?

--Selig said he'd be fine if the Wilpons purchased a hockey or soccer team to play in Willets Point. He said he had spoken briefly with the Wilpons, their staunch allies, about such a prospect. It's clear that this issue is a long time away from being resolved. Selig also, not surprisingly, expressed a lack of concern about the Mets' attendance drop.

--Baseball will look into the allegations that the Phillies cheated, which I comment on a little more below. Yet Selig noted that this sort of stuff has gone on forever.

--The Rangers sale, which has been particularly ugly, "needs to be completed as expeditiously as possible," Selig said. Poor Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram flew all the way up to New York for a whole lot of nuthin'.

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--Baseball will push to change the condition in the drug-testing program that allowed Cincinnati's Edinson Volquez to serve his 50-game suspension while rehabilitating from Tommy John surgery. I don't see the union fighting that one at all. It'll come into play when the players and owners negotiate a new collective-bargaining agreement in time for the 2012 season.

Catching up from yesterday...

--Here's my column on Francisco Rodriguez. He's certainly not the worst closer in baseball, but he's paid to be one of the best. And that, he is not.

--I just can't get worked up over the Phillies cheating scandal. That's not to say I don't believe the allegations. It's highly suspicious that the Phillies' bullpen coach was using binoculars in the Coors Field bullpen while the Phillies were batting.

Alas, we get back to the burden of proof, and the Phillies' opponents couldn't prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the Phillies were guilty. If the Phillies were cheating - and certainly, there's a general agreement that using binoculars crosses the line - then they'll have to be more careful now. If they immediately lose 20 straight games at home, then that would probably help the accusers' cause.


--Great story by David Lennon, who went to Florida a day early to catch up with Carlos Beltran. Beltran told Lennon that he did consider microfracture surgery on his right knee this past offseason, but that he's hoping to avoid it now.

--The Nationals' Roger Bernadina had a hell of a day. Gotta give Washington credit. I didn't think it was capable of getting off to this strong a start. I still don't think the Nats can sustain this, but at the least, it'd be nice for them to improve and start developing a bona fide fan base down in D.C.

--Jason Bay and Alex Cora engaged in a hockey-vs.-soccer debate, regarding the Wilpons bringing a second team into the Willets Point area. My vote: Soccer. Queens has the diverse population that would go gaga for soccer, IMO.

--Out in Detroit, the Yankees won yesterday's nightcap behind the superb pitching of Phil Hughes. When the season began, I would've given the starting pitching edge to the Red Sox over the Yankees. Right now, I'd go the other way.

--The Yankees placed Alfredo Aceves on the disabled list and recalled outfielder Greg Golson.

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--Jay-Z and Eminem will play the first concert at Yankee Stadium.

--Good appreciation of Brett Gardner by NoMaas, which I found on Twitter.

--The Yankees might have the best catching depth in baseball right now, yet this piece by Jamey Newberg, on MLB.com, is a cautionary tale. Not long ago, the Rangers boasted of such depth, and now, catcher could very well be a need as they try to win the AL West.

--Live chat tomorrow at noon. If you're not there, I expect a note from your parents.


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