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Archive for Monday, October 9, 2006

Report: Torre out, Piniella in with Yankees

October 9, 2006

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— Joe Torre was absent Sunday. Alex Rodriguez, too. And the New York Yankees made no announcement about changing managers.

While several players and coaches packed up in a quiet clubhouse, 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 statement, calling the result "absolutely not acceptable" and "a sad failure." 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 Steinbrenner's were authorized.

Piniella, in San Francisco while preparing to call the AL championship 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' organization, so as far as we're concerned, 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.

New York Yankees fan Freddie Schuman shows his dismay at the Yankees' playoff ouster. Schuman aired his grievances Sunday in New York outside Yankee Stadium.

New York Yankees fan Freddie Schuman shows his dismay at the Yankees' playoff ouster. Schuman aired his grievances Sunday in New York outside Yankee Stadium.

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 a 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 have seen enough.

The third baseman has had more than his share of public-relations problems lately, which his teammates are asked about. Perhaps the Yankees are beginning to think that's a distraction.

Either way, it doesn't sound as though A-Rod is particularly popular 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 probably would be interested, though, especially if New York agreed to pick up part of the tab on the rest of his contract.

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