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Yankees News and Notes: Arrested Development

All eyes will be on young left hander Manny Banuelos this spring, but the high hopes being placed upon him don't come close to what was expected of former Yankees' prospect Brien Taylor. Over 20 years ago, Taylor signed a then record $1.55 million bonus after being selected first overall in the draft, but now he is trying to post a $275,000 bond. On Thursday, the 40-year old former phenom was arrested for selling cocaine to an undercover police officer, completing his descent from what could have been a very promising baseball career.

The Yankees kick off the major league portion of their exhibition schedule with the first of three straight games against the Philadelphia Phillies. Ivan Nova will take the ball in the spring opener at Bright House Field in Clearwater (the game will be broadcast on MLB.TV and the MLB Network). Incidentally, all three games in the series are sold out, with some seats listed for well over $100 on StubHub.

Hal Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman have finally come clean about what most have suspected since the winter: the Yankees are hoping to dip below the luxury cap threshold in 2014. In order to achieve that goal, the team may have some hard decisions ahead, among them being whether or not to offer long-term contract extensions to Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson as well as which other potential future free agents to pursue.

Jesus Montero displayed his opposite field power by homering over the centerfield fence in his first spring game with the Mariners (click here for a photo). However, Montero's debut wasn't perfect. Early in the game, the young catcher dropped a pop up, and then in the fifth inning, he was struck on the mask by consecutive foul balls, prompting Mariners' manager Eric Wedge to remove him from the game.

For some players, it takes blood, sweat and tears to make the majors. Right now, however, MLB just wants the blood. David Robertson and Phil Hughes were among the Yankees who provided a blood sample pursuant to baseball's new HGH testing regimen, which was implemented under the recently agreed upon CBA. As of yet, there has been no word on whether the samples safely made it to FedEx.