Yankees react to Torre-Mattingly news

Yankees react to Torre-Mattingly news

BALTIMORE -- On the day Joe Torre announced that he is stepping down as manager of the Dodgers, his former team expressed appreciation for all that he has done for both the Yankees' organization and the game of baseball.

"It goes without saying how much he's meant to the game of baseball, not only as a player but as a manager, here and other places as well," said Derek Jeter, who played under Torre for 12 seasons. "I'm happy he's decided to do it, and I wish him the best."

As much as Torre has meant to other franchises, his 12-year stint in the Bronx was easily the high point of his managing career and what general manager Brian Cashman called "the most special time in this Yankee generation's memories."

Torre won four World Series and took the Yankees to two others while making the playoffs in each of his dozen seasons at the helm.

"Joe Torre the manager is already enshrined in history with us. The memories of him with the Yankees will go on forever," Cashman said. "He's going to be a Hall of Famer, and he'll go in with a Yankees cap."

Manager Joe Girardi is happy for his predecessor, but he was skeptical about just how long Torre will spend away from the game.

"It'll be interesting to see how he feels in December and if he stays retired," Girardi said, talking about how players often get "the itch" to come back during the offseason after retiring. "I know Joe is not 36 and a player, but you never know."

Girardi himself couldn't fathom managing at 70, Torre's age.

"It's amazing, to me, that he's done it this long, that anybody's done it this long," he said.

Jorge Posada -- one of three players to don the pinstripes for all of Torre's time in the Bronx, along with Jeter and Mariano Rivera -- doesn't think Torre will manage again. Meanwhile, Andy Pettitte isn't sure about Torre's future, and Jeter refused to speculate.

Cashman addressed the underlying tension between Torre and the Yankees, dating back to Torre's decision not to return in 2008 and his subsequent book, "The Yankee Years," in which he said some less-than-flattering things about his former employer.

Yankees' managerial greats
Joe Torre ranks second in Yankees history with his 1,173 managerial victories.
Manager Seasons Wins Losses Pct.
Joe McCarthy 16 1460 867 .627
Joe Torre 12 1173 767 .605
Casey Stengel 12 1149 696 .623
Miller Huggins 12 1067 719 .597
Ralph Houk 11 944 806 .539
Billy Martin 8 556 385 .591
Clark Griffith 6 419 370 .531
Buck Showalter 4 313 268 .539
"Just because he didn't re-sign a new contract doesn't change the fact that he was as successful and great a manager as he was for us," Cashman said. "You can have subjective opinions of [the book] -- what was accurate, what was inaccurate, should he have done it, shouldn't he have done it. It does not change what he did do, what we all did together.

"There are no issues with Joe Torre and the Yankees."

Jeter did say, of Torre's retirement, that he is "happy that he gets an opportunity to do it when he wants to do it."

Cashman added that if Torre does remain retired, he would be welcomed in the Bronx during such events as Old Timers' Day.

Torre's replacement, of course, has as big an attachment to the Yankees organization. Don Mattingly was the face of the franchise for more than a decade, although his time in pinstripes ended the year before Torre's began.

Mattingly also was New York's hitting coach from 2003-05 and was Torre's bench coach in the Bronx the following two seasons.

Posada remembers being in awe that he was learning the craft of hitting from the man they called "Donnie Baseball."

"I couldn't believe that Don Mattingly was my hitting coach. ... I was blown away," Posada said, extolling Mattingly's communication skills. "I think he gets how it's done."

Cashman may have chosen Girardi over Mattingly to be the Yankees' skipper in 2007, but the GM is happy to see a Yankees legend get the job in Los Angeles.

"That's awesome," Cashman said. "It's something that he wanted for a long time. He worked hard [and] put himself in a position to do that. I'm glad that it's paying off for him. They made a great choice."

Pettitte said that although it will be strange to see Mattingly in that role, he expects him to do a good job.

"He's had a great guy to see and work under, that's for sure," said Pettitte, the only current Yankee who played a full season with Mattingly. "I'm sure he'll do a wonderful job for them. I wish him the best."

Tim Britton is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.