Torre enters contract talks

Posted: Sunday, July 22, 2001

NEW YORK (AP) -- Winning four World Series titles in five seasons as the New York Yankees' manager hasn't been enough to get Joe Torre a contract extension.

Torre, in the final year of his contract with the Yankees, discussed his future with owner George Steinbrenner on Saturday for the first time since spring training.

''We're in agreement that we'll get something worked out,'' Torre said before the Yankees lost their fourth straight game, 5-3 to Toronto. ''We talked in general terms more than specifics. I wanted to sit across from him to see how he feels. We both want the same thing. I was comfortable and convinced that we both got that out of the meeting.''

Torre had hoped to get his contract status resolved before the season, but Steinbrenner put off discussions while dealing with developing a new television network and negotiations for a new stadium.

Steinbrenner was in town for Friday's game against the Blue Jays and left after meeting with Torre on Saturday morning. Steinbrenner was unavailable for comment.

''I would obviously like to be able to make plans for the future,'' Torre said. ''But it is not like he has nothing else to do. I've heard from more than one source about the enormity of what he's going through. When things calm down, we will hammer it out.''

The 61-year-old Torre expects his next contract to be his last as a manager and would like it to be in New York. His daughter, Andrea Rae, is about to start kindergarten, and Torre wants his life to be settled for her sake.

While Torre is confident he will reach a deal to keep him in pinstripes beyond this season, he knows nothing is certain in New York.

''Until you sign something there's always that possibility,'' he said. ''But I'm comfortable it will happen. We're both in agreement. I want to be here and he wants me back.''

But if that doesn't happen for any reason, Torre said he would look at other jobs.

''As long as I'm having fun, I'll keep doing it. As long as I feel good,'' he said. ''If the hunger was still there for me ... I'd certainly consider going somewhere else.''

Torre is in his sixth year with the Yankees -- the longest stint of any manager during Steinbrenner's 29 years as owner. Torre's 543 wins are the sixth most in club history and his four World Series titles trail only the seven won by Casey Stengel and Joe McCarthy.

That hasn't made him immune to criticism from Steinbrenner. Just recently, Steinbrenner questioned Torre's decision to select seven of his own players for the All-Star game.

''He's the Boss,'' Torre said. ''There's no question that he tries to drive people. That's not a negative thing. Over the years, our relationship has been positive.''

It remains to be seen how long it will continue.

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