Steinbrenner apologizes for missing playoffs

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NEW YORK (AP) — Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner apologized Wednesday for his team's failure to make the playoffs for a second straight year and said New York is talking with general manager Brian Cashman about a new contract.

Hampered by injuries to four-fifths of their starting rotation and an offense that was 13th in scoring in the 15-team American League, the Yankees went 84-78 and missed consecutive postseasons for the first time since 1992 and '93.

"I apologize. We did not do the job this year," Steinbrenner said on "The Michael Kay Show," which is simulcast by the YES Network and ESPN New York radio. "We know what you expect of us, and we expect the same thing of ourselves. We certainly did what we thought we could do in the offseason to field a pretty good team come April 1, but it didn't work out."

Offseason offensive additions didn't have the anticipated impact. Brian McCann hit .232; Carlos Beltran was limited by an elbow injury and batted .233; Jacoby Ellsbury hit .252 after the All-Star break, dropping his average to .271.

"I would hold me responsible before anybody else," Steinbrenner said. "I think they were good signings, and I think they'll turn out to be good signings."

Cashman is completing a three-year contract worth about $9 million. Steinbrenner said the team and Cashman are discussion a new deal but have not reached an agreement. The 47-year-old has been GM since replacing Bob Watson in February 1998.

"Brian I believe is a good one," Steinbrenner said. "Every general manager has signings. Some work out better than others. But everything he did in July for the most part, bringing in (Chase) Headley, bringing in (Brandon) McCarthy, (Martin) Prado, I think they all helped the team stay in it. ... I think the (Michael) Pineda trade is looking to be a really good one, as long as he stays healthy."

Steinbrenner said the Yankees hope to add a shortstop to replace retired captain Derek Jeter and a starting pitcher to bolster their rotation. Ivan Nova is not expected to be ready until May following elbow ligament-replacement surgery.

He said it's hard to predict what Alex Rodriguez will produce following his one-year suspension for violations of baseball's drug agreement and labor contract.

"I don't think we can have any expectations. ... If he's healthy, he can contribute," Steinbrenner said. "What he's going to be able to do playing third base remains to be seen, but if he's healthy he's going to be an asset to the team and I would never not want that."

Steinbrenner wouldn't speculate whether the Yankees would feel an obligation to keep A-Rod if he's not healthy because New York owes him $61 million for the next three seasons.

"Let's cross that bridge when he come to it," he said.

Steinbrenner did not attend Jeter's final home game last week, which drew some criticism.

"I'm not going to get into the reasons why I couldn't be there," he said. "It's perfectly understandable for people to be upset about that."

Steinbrenner said no decisions have been made on whether changes should be made to the coaching staff and evaluations are ongoing. He admits his late father often acted differently.

"I don't think it's a newsflash that I'm different from George in a lot of ways," he said. "I do tend to be a little less rash when it comes to firing people."

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