05/01/07 10:15 PM ET
Notes: Torre appreciates statement
Vote of confidence from Steinbrenner encourages manager
By Jesse Sanchez / MLB.com
A letter of support for his staff and club from Yankees owner George Steinbrenner on Monday was well received by general manager Brian Cashman and manager Joe Torre, and it stymied some speculation their jobs were in jeopardy.
"I'm pleased," Torre said. "You always feel that you are getting support through the organization, and it's nice to know that for sure."
Torre said that he spoke with Steinbrenner on Monday night to thank him for the gesture. The manager added that he is looking forward to the end of recent questions about his job security.
"I'd like to believe this is the last day we'll ask those questions for a while," Torre said. "The fact that George did what he did hopefully will make us have baseball as the center of attention."
"We appreciate the support," said Cashman, who is traveling with the team in Texas. "Obviously, he's made a commitment to us and [we] honor that commitment by delivering for him."
So far, the club has not delivered. The Yankees finished April with a 9-14 record and in last place in the American League East.
"He wants to win, and that's no surprise to anybody, and it shouldn't be," Cashman said. "He's the same when you lose. Winning is very important to him, and rightfully so."
"He wants to win as fast as possible and we do, too," Cashman continued. "He knows that. He just feels a little powerless to do much and he's looking for us to get it done, and that's where he needs to look. This is an opportunity to show everybody why we are here and what we can do."
Rocket watch: The Rogers Clemens sweepstakes is in full swing, but don't expect Cashman to make the 200-mile trip south from Arlington to Houston for a special rendezvous with the future Hall of Famer or the hurler's agent, Randy Hendricks.
According to reports, the Yankees, Astros and Red Sox remain possible teams for the right-hander. Last season, Clemens signed with the Astros on May 31.
"He's got a difficult decision," Cashman said. "First, is he going to play? And then, where he wants to be. I respect that. He's earned that right. He can help anybody in the game. He's the greatest one that ever came through, so we'll just have to wait it out and see."
Cashman reiterated that Clemens and Hendricks know where the Yankees stand.
"You have to respect the process. It's a process he has to go through," Cashman said. "I wish him luck. He's obviously a great pitcher, great person, good family man. He has a lot on his mind about what he wants to do next. At the end of the day, you have to give him his space to allow him to make the decision that's comfortable for him and his family."
Damon on the mend: After two consecutive nights off and four treatments by his chiropractor since Sunday, center fielder Johnny Damon is expected back in the starting lineup on Wednesday.
"I'm feeling great," Damon said. "I'm ready to get going and help improve on this bad April we had."
Damon has much to improve on. The outfielder has four hits in his last 32 at-bats, and he entered Tuesday hitting .229 with one home run and eight RBIs in 21 games this season.
"I got the sense we have better days ahead coming from him," Cashman said. "I know mentally, he feels a lot better than where he was. ... He's a big part of this lineup. He was a major force for us last year, and I know he's looking forward from May on, being a force for us this year."
He said it: "I just wanted to move him out of the three-hole for a day. I called Bobby in before I did it and told him. ... You certainly don't want to make somebody think you are losing confidence when that's not the case, moving him up in the batting order." -- Torre, on his decision to move Bobby Abreu to the leadoff spot on Tuesday
Torre recovering: Frank Torre, the older brother of Joe Torre, is recovering in a New York hospital after undergoing kidney transplant surgery. The organ was donated by his daughter.
"Frank got through his surgery -- that's step one," Torre said. "My sister called me at 3 o'clock New York time and said his surgery just ended. The doctor went in and told them that the kidney seemed to start functioning right away. He's in recovery."
Joe Torre expects his brother to be out of the hospital in a week to 10 days.
"His daughter is doing well," Torre said. "Hopefully, it improves that way."
Murcer returns: YES Network analyst and Yankees favorite Bobby Murcer, recovering from surgery to remove a brain tumor, returned to the broadcast booth on Tuesday and expects to work 50 games this season.
"There were no thoughts in my mind that I would not come back," Murcer said. "I always planned on coming back and doing my full schedule."
This is Murcer's 24th season calling baseball games.
"God love him," Torre said. "He has a great attitude. And obviously, we are all praying results are as good as he feels right now."
Briefly: If Chien-Ming Wang (split right middle fingernail) makes a start this week, it will be on Saturday, Torre said. Wang will be evaluated after his bullpen session on Wednesday. The right-hander said he does not feel any pain and does not expect to miss a start. "I hope that's the case," Torre said. ... Mike Mussina (left hamstring) is on schedule to come off the disabled list and pitch on Thursday in the Yankees' series finale against the Rangers. Mussina will likely be limited to 80 pitches in the outing. ... Carl Pavano (right forearm stiffness) is scheduled to throw off a mound on Wednesday.
Coming up: The Yankees will resume their three-game series with the Rangers on Wednesday night at 8:05 ET, handing the ball to Andy Pettitte (1-1, 3.00 ERA) against right-hander Robinson Tejeda (3-1, 3.82 ERA).
Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.