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October 10, 2006 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-10-10

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12-The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, October 10, 2006
.After loss, Steinbrenner to
make employment decisions

NEW YORK (AP) - Joe Torre
was absent Sunday. Alex Rodri-
guez, too. And the New York
Yankees made no announcement
about changing managers.
While several players and
coaches packed up in a quiet club-
house, Day 1 of what figures to be
a wild offseason in Yankeeland
provided few definitive answers.
Torre still has his job - for
now. Hours after New York was
eliminated in the first round of
the playoffs again, the Daily News
reported Sunday that demanding
owner George Steinbrenner was
likely to fire his longtime manager
and replace him with old favorite
Lou Piniella.
The Boss issued a pointed state-
ment, calling the result "absolutely
not acceptable" and "a sad fail-
ure." But he had not yet consulted
with Yankees executives about any
change, at least not yet, a baseball

official said Sunday, speaking on
condition of anonymity because
no statements other than Stein-
brenner's were authorized.
Piniella, in San Francisco while
preparing to call the AL cham-
pionship series on FOX, told the
network he hadn't talked to the
Yankees and was "stunned" by the
report.
"We have heard from absolutely
no one from the Yankees' orga-
nization, so as far as we're con-
cerned, it's all speculation," said
Piniella's agent, Alan Nero. "Lou
is seriously considering the four
jobs that are open."
Torre's fate, however, is far
from the only big question facing
the $200 million Yankees after
they lost the AL division series to
Detroit on Saturday. There also is
speculation the team would like to
get rid of Rodriguez, a postseason
bust again this October.

The two-time MVP, owed $66.6
million by the Yankees over the
final four years of his record $252
million contract (after accounting
for $28.4 million Texas is paying
New York), went 1-for-14 during
the four-game loss to the Tigers.
He was dropped to eighth in the
batting order for the first time in
a decade Saturday, when an 8-3
defeat ended New York's season,
and is 3-for-29 (.103) in his past
two playoff series.
That makes Rodriguez 4-for-41
(.098) without an RBI in his last
12 postseason games - and he is
yet to reach the World Series.
During A-Rod's three seasons
in New York, the Yankees have
squandered a 3-0 cushion against
rival Boston in the 2004 AL
championship series, and lost in
the opening round of the playoffs
the past two years.
By now, maybe the Yankees

Yankee manager Joe Torre has disappointed owner George Steinbrenner
with early playoff exits, and could be out of a job within the next few days.

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have seen enough.
The third baseman has had
more than his share of public-rela-
tions problems lately, which his
teammates are asked about. Per-
haps the Yankees are beginning to
think that's a distraction.
Either way, it doesn't sound as
though A-Rod is particularly pop-
ular in his own clubhouse.
But if the Yankees want to ship
him out of town, Rodriguez would
have to waive his no-trade clause
for a deal to be completed.
He has said he doesn't want to
do that, saying he is "100 percent
committed to being a Yankee"
and he thinks he can be "part of
the solution."
Several other teams would
probably be interested, though,
especially if New York agreed to
pick up part of the tab on the rest
of his contract. After all, the 31-
year-old Rodriguez is still one of
the most talented players in base-
ball. He hit .290 with 35 homers
and 121 RBIs this season - and
that was a down year.
Perhaps he could flourish under
October pressure in another city.
But make no mistake, the Yan-
kees wouldn't just give him away.
They would certainly want some-
thing valuable in return, and most
teams are hesitant to hand over
pitchers - whether they're proven
winners or promising youngsters.
Rodriguez wasn't the only star
on a star-laden team that struggled
mightily against the Tigers - and
there could be plenty of changes
in the Bronx before next season.
Gary Sheffield, Mike Mussina and
Bernie Williams could all become
free agents.
As for Torre, he has guided the
Yankees to the playoffs in all 11
seasons of his tenure - including
nine straight AL East titles.
But after winning four World
Series championships from 1996-
2000, New York has come up
empty since. And the Yankees
have been knocked out in the first
round three of the last five years.
Pitching coach Ron Guidry
and first base coach Tony Pena
defended Torre, saying he did an
outstanding job this year through-
out a trying season. Three All-
Stars missed extensive time with
injuries: Sheffield, Hideki Matsui
and Robinson Cano.
The 66-year-old Torre has one
year and $7 million left on his
contract.
"To find anybody to manage
this ballclub the way Joe Torre has
the last 10 years would be very,
very hard," Pena said. "There's no
way you can find anybody that can
replace him."
Maybe Steinbrenner, 76 and
desperate to win another cham-
pionship, will finally disagree.
He specifically had spokesman
Howard Rubenstein change the
wording in his statement from
"not acceptable" to "absolutely
not acceptable" about 90 minutes
after it was first issued.
"I am deeply disappointed at
our being eliminated so early in
the playoffs," Steinbrenner said.
"This result is absolutely not
acceptable to me nor to our great
and loyal Yankee fans. I want to
congratulate the Detroit Tigers
organization and wish them well.
Rest assured, we will go back to
work immediately and try to right
this sad failure and provide a
championship for the Yankees, as
is our goal every year."
Yankees players still sounded a

little stunned by the loss.
"I think we got taken by sur-
prise. I think we got matched up
with a team that was a little more
ready to play than we were;' said
pitcher Cory Lidle, who also can
become a free agent.
Or, as Guidry put it: "We
really had a better team than we
showed."
The 63-year-old Piniella is a
former Yankees star and managed
them in 1986-87 and for most of
1988. He guided Cincinnati to the
1990 World Series title and later
managed Seattle and Tampa Bay.
The Chicago Cubs, San Fran-
cisco, Texas and Washington have
open manager's jobs.
"I've been talking to all four.
We're in different stages with
each one of them," Nero said. "In
the meantime, Lou and I are not
thinking about the Yankees and
we would never disrespect Joe or
the Yankees by joining in on the
speculation. That's the furthest
thing from our minds right now."

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