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Trouble in Gotham?

Ramp

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credit:New York Daily News:
MINNEAPOLIS - The Yankees are off to one of the best starts in franchise history, but the victories, home runs and strong pitching haven't been enough to quell George Steinbrenner's behind-the-scenes shenanigans, which are nearly as famous as the team's winning ways.

A new storm erupted in Yankeeland yesterday when Joe Torre took pains to announce in his usual pregame briefing that he was as angry as he's ever been as the team's manager because Steinbrenner had overturned his decision to send struggling pitcher Jose Contreras to Triple-A Columbus.

Two days earlier, The Boss had told Torre to make the call on Contreras, but, the manager said, Steinbrenner then mandated that the Cuban go to the team's minor-league complex in Tampa to work with organizational pitching instructor Billy Connors. Torre is furious.

"I know my place and I know my job, but don't tell me I can make a decision and then tell me it's my decision and not have it be that way," said Torre, who added nothing like this had ever happened in his tenure.

Asked if he was angry, Torre said, "Yeah. I'm angry, but respectful that I'm going to do my job." Asked if this was the most unhappy he's been with the way the Yankees do things since he began managing the team in 1996, Torre replied, "Yeah."

This is an issue that could linger because it places at odds the organization's two power bases - the Tampa office and New York. Who knows if a power rift is brewing?

It may even cloud Torre's future as manager, though he has another year on his three-year, $16 million contract and said he didn't worry about his job. He became the fifth Yankee manager to win 700 games yesterday when the Yankees beat the Twins, 8-2.

Steinbrenner has long chafed over the amount of credit Torre has gotten and has pounced publicly on Torre, Derek Jeter and Yankee coaches since the team lost in the first round of the playoffs last year.

Torre, on the other hand, is growing tired of fielding shots from Steinbrenner, team insiders say. The owner's rips at Torre's coaches last winter rankled and the manager believes the Contreras decision is a direct slap at pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre, of whom Torre said, "I have the utmost respect for."

Stottlemyre was working with Contreras and, Torre said, "he was getting instruction here. He only needed the opportunity to pitch. I don't think any of our pitchers can do better than Mel Stottlemyre. That's taking nothing away from our other instructors."

Torre is also indignant because he believes his credibility with his players was compromised. Torre met with Contreras, Stottlemyre and Contreras' translator Leo Astacio Saturday to explain that they wanted him to get regular work in the minors to regain his confidence.

"My problem with this whole thing is that I sat in my (hotel) room with this young man and it turns out I'm the liar," Torre said. "That I'm not crazy about. I always am as honest as possible and I pride myself on that.

"We spent a lot of time talking about the workings of the whole deal. I'm sure he (Contreras) will be scratching his head."

Steinbrenner did not return several messages yesterday and his home phone went unanswered. GM Brian Cashman didn't return calls, either. But members of the Yankee organization said this was typical of how Steinbrenner operates, that he will tell executives to make decisions and then call them back and tell them what to do.

Contreras will work with Connors for a while and then go to Triple-A, one team bigwig said, but Torre pointedly noted he didn't know what the plans were.

"He (Steinbrenner) suggested Jose would go to Tampa to work on things," Torre said. "I suggested we want Billy Connors to come up here so we could all benefit from his knowledge. That wasn't what happened."

Torre's last comment may have been tinged with sarcasm - he is not particularly close to Connors. Yankee pitchers, notably Dwight Gooden and David Cone in 2000, have worked with Connors in Tampa.

Torre has not spoken with Steinbrenner directly and said he has no plans to, though he wants to talk to Contreras, who was in New York yesterday to gather his belongings. Torre didn't even know whether Contreras knew of the change in plans.

Now, after a zany spring that included David Wells' book, did Torre think his job was in jeopardy? "I never worry about it," Torre said. "I've had more security here than anywhere else. If I worried about my job, I can't do my job."

Torre didn't think Steinbrenner was trying to send him a message, either. "If he wanted to send me a message, he could've sent me one on the phone the other day," Torre said.

"I know he's the boss and I don't say it sarcastically. I'll always be thankful for that day in '95 that I was hired by him. It's been a ball.

"And it'll continue to be a ball," he told reporters, "before you ask me that question.
 

Guest

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Torre and Steinbrenner are not getting along. Backpage of the Daily News is "Cuban Pitcher Crisis".
 

Ramp

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Torre and Steinbrenner are not getting along. Backpage of the Daily News is "Cuban Pitcher Crisis".
:lol
 

yankeefan21

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Settle Down.

These are the kinds of things sports writers write about when there is nothing TRULY bad to write about...

:hat
 

Rune

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Well are those Torre's words? They seem to be and from what I read he is furious. You can't say that it's not a big deal with those comments.

Stein according to Torre made a liar out of him and that's not a big deal?
 

DurableTear

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That's Yankees' Baseball...

I agree King George shouldn't panic when his team is off to a 16-3 start and the Starters haven't loss yet...
 

Guest

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Paper today mentioned the possibility of Torre quitting after the season.
 

Rune

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King George is hurting his team, why start this up when your team once again dominated The Twins and are looking damn good. Why!/
 

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