Keep in mind this is George King reporting, so take it with a grain of salt.
December 9, 2006 -- With Andy Pettitte joining fellow ground-ball specialist Chien-Ming Wang, the Yankees have shown an interest in slick-fielding first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz.
Even though Mientkiewicz is a left-handed hitter and the Yankees are seeking a right-handed bat at first, he isn't an automatic out against lefties (.274 last year). Hideki Matsui and Jason Giambi handle left-handers well, and Mientkiewicz is considered a defensive upgrade at first over right-handed hitting Shea Hillenbrand, who has talked with the Yankees.
"He catches the ball, that's a lock," a scout said of 32-year-old Mientkiewicz, who batted .283 with four homers and 43 RBIs for the Royals last season. Mientkiewicz, however, was limited to 91 games due to a back problem that resulted in postseason surgery to correct a chipped piece of bone pressing against a nerve, but he has completely recovered and will be ready for spring training.
The A's and Yankees are among several teams interested in the .270 career hitter with an on-base percenttage of .359 who was paid $1.85 million last season. He has played for the Twins, Red Sox, Mets and Royals.
Mientkiewicz caused a stir following the 2004 World Series when after catching the final out of the Red Sox Series victory he said the ball belonged to him and the Red Sox disagreed.