Frozen assets burn ballplayers

Many professional athletes long have claimed they loved their respective sports so much that they would’ve played for nothing.

Well, several big league ballplayers soon might learn what that’s like.

Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher Scott Eyre revealed this week he’s the latest in a growing list of players who’ve had their assets frozen by federal regulators as the government investigates the Stanford Financial Group and an alleged $8 billion fraud scheme involving billionaire Robert Allen Stanford.

"I’m trying to figure out how to pay my bills," Eyre told MLB.com. "I’m broke right now. I have no money. I have $13 in my wallet."

Other players affected by the scheme include current New York Yankees Johnny Damon and Xavier Nady and former Yankee Bernie Williams, the New York Mets’ Mike Pelfrey, Boston’s Jacoby Ellsbury, Seattle’s Adrian Beltre and Tampa Bay’s Carlos Pena.

"My wife just wrote all these checks to pay bills, and they’re all going to bounce," Eyre said. "If it takes a week or two to get my money back, I’m going to have to ask my teammates for some money. Seriously, I’m going to have to ask them that. I can’t get any money out."

Fortunately for Eyre, who signed a one-year, $2 million contract with Philadelphia, he won’t have to pass his hat in the Phillies’ clubhouse; the team agreed Wednesday to advance him some of his salary.

PAPPY AND PAPI — Boston Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon has a strange sense of humor. After telling Boston radio station WEEI, "I just have this weird feeling that I’m not going to live a long life, that I’m going to die young," this week, the 28-year-old later told reporters he was joking.

"Man, I was just messing around," he said. "Just trying to keep you guys on your toes."

While Papelbon ponders his mortality, Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, aka "Big Papi," appears alive, well and ready to bounce back from a subpar season by his standards.

On Tuesday, Ortiz sent several tape-measure shots of at least 450 feet out of Field 5 at Boston’s player development complex in Fort Myers, Fla. He even put a couple of dents in former Red Sox pitcher Luis Tiant‘s black sport utility vehicle, which was parked about 500 feet from home plate.

"You keep parking here, I’m going to take your truck home," Ortiz yelled.

"You’re going to pay for it," Tiant replied.

GIAMBI RETIREMENT PLAN — Oakland Athletics slugger Jason Giambi doesn’t plan on retiring anytime soon, in part because he said he’s not qualified to do much else.

"What else am I going to do? Seriously. Maybe bouncer at a strip joint. That’s about all I’m qualified to do," he told the San Francisco Chronicle.

But Rick’s Cabaret New York has higher hopes for the Henderson resident.

"We think that he would make a good VIP host," Rick’s spokesperson Lonnie Hanover said. "Rick’s is well known as the gentlemen’s club of choice for celebrities and sports stars, and Jason would often see a lot of his old teammates."

COMPILED BY TODD DEWEY LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

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