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News » Paul Hagen: Yankees manager Girardi likely to stick around for a while

Paul Hagen: Yankees manager Girardi likely to stick around for a while

Paul Hagen: Yankees manager Girardi likely to stick around for a while
THERE'S AN impression out there that Yankees manager Joe Girardi is squarely in the cross hairs this season, that he has the slightest of margins for error before he could find himself looking for a new job.It says here that's overblown. While the combination of missing the playoffs for the first time in 12 seasons, a bunch of expensive free-agent signings and the legendary Steinbrenner impatience is a volatile combination, it's important to remember two things.One is that even after signing CC Sabathia , A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira , the team's payroll actually went down. The other is that it was Hank Steinbrenner , the Baby Boss, who nudged Joe Torre out the door and pushed for Girardi to succeed him. He's not likely to readily admit that he blundered.Still, there are many who may already be feeling the heat, even though it's still frigid April. A partial list:* Padres general manager Kevin Towers : It's not his fault that owner John Moores ordered the payroll slashed. But with a front office in transition and a team that figures to be horrible even before Jake Peavy is inevitably traded, the popular Towers could take the fall.* Tigers manager Jim Leyland : He burnished his reputation in his first season, 2006, when Detroit went from 91 losses to the World Series. Now, though, the Tigers are coming off a last-place finish despite adding Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis , advance ticket sales are down sharply and Leyland is in the final year of his contract.* Giants general manager

Brian Sabean and manager Bruce Bochy : Bill Neukom has replaced Peter Magowan as managing general partner and has already had discussions with Sabean about what he needs to do to be retained after his contract expires at the end of the year. Back-to-back 90-loss seasons haven't helped.* Rockies manager Clint Hurdle : He's in his eighth season and has had one winning record, although Colorado did make it to the World Series that year (2007).* Rangers manager Ron Washington : He had to survive rumors he was on the bubble early last year, but another slow start could be too much.The hot corner* The Boston Herald reports that Fenway Park will be the site of this New Year's Day outdoor hockey game. The Bruins will play a yet-to-be-named opponent, the paper said.* According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel , Fox Sports is working with Major League Baseball to find a way to start World Series games earlier.* Giants closer Brian Wilson hit 100 mph on the radar gun Tuesday. "I'm thinking, 'What am I doing calling the slider?' " joked catcher Bengie Molina .Around the bases* Padres ace righthander Jake Peavy is available because upper management wants to move his salary. But he told the San Diego Union-Tribune he can't think about that. "I've got to be sold-out for the team I'm playing for," he said. "And that's what I'm doing ... That's only fair to the team I'm employed by. I'm committed to giving this team everything I have. I'm not going to sulk. I just want my teammates to know they've got every bit of me."* The Giants have an unusual situation. Their backup catcher, Pablo Sandoval , is also their starting third baseman. So Bengie Molina figures to log a lot of time behind the plate this season.* Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez was the only player in the NL West to drive in 100 runs last season.On deckCHEERS: For Mets announcer Gary Cohen and YES analyst John Flaherty. Broadcasters work for the team, which sometimes makes it difficult for them to be completely open. But the two New York-based talkers win points for blunt honesty this week.During an exhibition last Friday against the Red Sox, Cohen had this to say about the team's signing of Gary Sheffield: "He's a me-first guy. You really have to wonder, on the eve of the season, after building chemistry for 7 weeks in spring training, whether this turns out to be a positive move."And when CC Sabathia had a less-than-stellar debut for the Yankees on Monday, here was Flaherty's take: "When I'm watching him pitch and see the heat pad and then see him throwing 88-89, it's almost like he's protecting something, pitching at 70 percent."Here's hoping the Mets and Yankees let both keep speaking their minds.JEERS: To Johan Santana, Cliff Lee, Brandon Webb, CC Sabathia, Roy Halladay, Jake Peavy and Tim Lincecum. The seven former Cy Young Award winners combined to go 2-3 with a 7.75 earned run average in their Opening Day starts.Yikes. Thought the pitchers were supposed to be ahead of the hitters at this point of the season.BY THE NUMBERS: 61: Years in Baseball for Rays senior Baseball adviser Don Zimmer. "This an important one, because I'm alive," he observed sagely.73: African-American players on Opening Day rosters, according to the Boston Globe. The Dodgers had the most (seven) and the Red Sox the fewest (zero).285: Major league wins for the Triple A Albuquerque Isotopes rotation of Shawn Estes, Eric Milton, Eric Stults, Jeff Weaver and Miguel Pinango. That's more than twice as many as the parent Dodgers. Their rotation started the season with a combined 140 wins, 90 of them by Randy Wolf.UP NEXT: The wave of new stadiums continues in Baseball. The Mets will play their first official game at Citi Field against the Padres on Monday night. The Yankees will formally christen their new $1.5 billion playpen against the Indians next Thursday afternoon.And the Royals will show off the $250 million worth of renovations to Kauffman Stadium with a game against the Yankees this afternoon.When the Twins open their new ballpark next season and the Marlins get theirs in 2012, it will mean that a remarkable 23 new stadiums will have been unveiled since 1990.WeeklingsQUOTES OF THE WEEK:White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper, on why 30-year-old lefthander Mark Buehrle should improve his offseason conditioning: "He's getting older and he needs to do more. He needs to pay more of a price before spring training."Buehrle on his winter training program: "They told me I probably need to do more, but I've done this for 8-10 years and have never been on the disabled list or missed a start."GASTRONOMIC DELIGHT OF THE WEEK:The West Michigan Whitecaps, Class A affiliate of the Tigers, will offer a 4,800-calorie burger at their concession stands this season. Weighing in at 4 pounds, it consists of five beef patties, five slices of cheese, a cup of chili and a half-cup of salsa, and will sell for $20.ODD CONTRACTS OF THE WEEK:Gabe Kapler's free-agent deal with the Rays calls for a base salary of $1,000,000.18. Kapler considers 18 his lucky number and it's also the symbol of life, or chai, in the Jewish faith.And Brewers reliever Todd Coffey will make $800,002. "I just wanted an even number, other than zero. I've always done it that way," he explained.OMEN OF THE WEEK: The Cubs are now at the 101-year mark since their last World Series championship. But when workers were excavating for a new private club to be built inside Wrigley Field, they found two antique horseshoes that were promptly attached to a steel beam for good luck. But does a pair of horseshoes trump the Billy Goat Curse?FinallyNationals president Stan Kasten stirred up quite a fuss when he went on a local radio station (ESPN-950) and urged Phillies fans to travel to Washington to ROOT for their team next week. One commentator even compared it to Red Sox president Larry Lucchino telling Yankees fans to come to Fenway Park.Apples and oranges. Let's face it. The Nationals don't draw. They haven't even sold out their home opener against the Phils on Monday yet. So why wouldn't Kasten want to see those seats filled by paying customers, no matter what colors they're wearing?One more time: Baseball is a business. Part of Kasten's job description is to help increase revenue. Increased revenue, in theory, can be used to acquire better players and retain the nucleus you already have. Over time, that should lead to an improved product. Which hopefully will attract enough D.C.-area fans so that the team won't have to solicit customers in out-of-town markets.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 10, 2009

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