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Archive for Thursday, October 18, 2007

Torre remains in limbo

October 18, 2007

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— This business with Joe Torre is getting kind of bizarre.

After two days of much-hyped meetings, owner George Steinbrenner and the New York Yankees still won't say whether they plan to bring back Torre for a 13th season as their manager.

"We hold Joe Torre in the highest regard and, obviously, that's why we're taking the time ... to determine what's best for us as we move forward and whether he's a part of that or not," general manager Brian Cashman said Wednesday outside Legends Field, the team's spring training home.

A person familiar with the meetings, speaking on condition of anonymity because the Yankees aren't making details public, said it was possible a decision would be made Thursday or Friday.

Cashman returned to New York, along with chief operating officer Lonn Trost and assistant GM Jean Afterman. Team president Randy Levine remained in Florida.

Steinbrenner, who has the final say, also was in Florida, along with sons Hal and Hank and son-in-law Felix Lopez.

Cashman wouldn't give any timing for a final say on Torre, whose $19.2 million, three-year contract expires Oct. 31. He said that if the decision is made to keep Torre, "then there's a negotiation. ... And that takes time. It's as simple as that."

"As long as it takes," Cashman said, "So give it the time it needs."

While the team's top officials met in Florida, some fans signed a petition Wednesday at a "Save Joe Torre" rally near Times Square in New York.

Steinbrenner did not comment - he hasn't discussed Torre's future publicly since he told The Record of Hackensack, N.J., on Oct. 6 that he didn't think he'd bring back Torre if the Yankees failed to advance to the AL championship series. Cleveland then eliminated New York in four games, the Yankees' third straight first-round exit.

Cashman said that he has remained in contact with Torre.

"I talk to Joe as a friend and colleague," he said.

The Yankees also have not yet reached out to Ray Schulte, the agent for bench coach Don Mattingly, who is the leading contender to take over if Torre doesn't return.

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