Star Wars: Hank Steinbrenner says Yanks would `rather be Darth Vader'
TAMPA, Fla. -- Hank Steinbrenner isn't happy the Boston Red Sox are World Series champions and the New York Yankees are chasing.
"We'd rather be Darth Vader. Let them be the underdog," the Yankees senior vice president said Wednesday during his team's first full-squad workout of the year.
New York had won nine consecutive AL East titles before the Red Sox finished first last season. Boston then won its second World Series title in four years.
Alex Rodriguez, who joined the Yankees in 2004, likes not being the favorite.
"This is the first year since I've been here in five years that we're not the team to beat and I think it's a good position to be in," A-Rod said.
Before the workout, new manager Joe Girardi spoke to his entire team for the first time. Not since Buck Showalter in 1995 had a manager other than Joe Torre given the opening address.
"He's actually got a little different walk when he comes in. Mr. T had that sort of little slow movement coming in," Yankees captain Derek Jeter said. "It sunk in. You realize that Mr. T's moved on and Joe's here."
Jeter said he didn't miss Torre yet. Then he corrected himself, after thinking about how strenuous the workout was.
"I missed him when we were running," Jeter said. "We didn't run that much before, so I missed him a little bit."
Hard to believe, but Jeter is entering the eighth season of a $189 million, 10-year contract and is eligible for free agency after the 2010. Jeter and the Yankees aren't making an issue of whether he should get an extension.
"Obviously, Derek will always be special to us and will be taken care of," Steinbrenner said.
Steinbrenner was among 16 people who stood on a platform and watched Andy Pettitte throw his first bullpen session at Legends Field this year. Following his deposition and affidavit to a congressional committee investigating performance-enhancing drugs, Pettitte was given permission to report four days after other pitchers.
Pettitte threw 45 pitches and said his lack of velocity was normal for him in a bullpen session.
"My arm feels good. My legs, on the other hand -- I got to get my legs up underneath me a little bit," he said.
He has been relieved to be back on the field this week instead of dealing with lawyers.
"Everything is kind of back to normal, really," he said. "No doubt over the last couple of months, it was so draining that you just kind of (say): Man, I don't know if I've got the energy to go through it."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index
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