Steinbrenner says Torre will be back

Saturday, October 4, 2003

MINNEAPOLIS -- New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner insists Joe Torre will be back to manage the team next season, no matter what the founder of USA Today thinks.

Responding to a column in the newspaper by Al Neuharth, Steinbrenner gave Torre a vote of confidence Friday and said the manager will keep his job regardless of how the Yankees do this postseason.

"My job is here, to manage this club. When he feels it's not good enough, then that's up to him," Torre said.

New York and Minnesota were tied 1-1 in the best-of-five division series heading into Game 3 today at the Metrodome.

Neuharth called Torre "baseball's most overrated manager" and said if the Yankees don't reach the World Series this year Steinbrenner could finally fire Torre.

"As a lifelong Yankee fan, I think the head groundskeeper could have managed as well as, or better than, Torre has during the past three seasons' playoffs," Neuharth wrote.

Steinbrenner disagreed.

"I have great respect for Al Neuharth as a businessman and an innovator," the owner said in a statement. "On this one, he's wrong. He's been caught off base. Joe Torre is my manager. I support him. He's done the job. And he'll be my manager next year."

Torre has been New York's manager since 1996, winning four World Series titles and five AL pennants. But he was criticized by Steinbrenner several times this season when the Yankees slumped.-- AP

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