Torre sidesteps questions about Giambi

Updated: December 9, 2004, 3:53 PM ET
Associated Press

WOOD-RIDGE, N.J. -- While manager Joe Torre repeatedly dodged questions Thursday on whether he thinks Jason Giambi will return to the New York Yankees, Hall of Famer Yogi Berra readily voiced his opinion.

"I don't think so," Berra said when asked whether he would permit Giambi to play for the Yankees next year.

Berra said steroids are dangerous both for players and the fans who look up to them.

"They could die from that stuff," he said.

According to a report last week, Giambi told a federal grand jury in December 2003 that he had used steroids. The Yankees have been researching whether they can void the contract of the first baseman, who has been hobbled by injuries the past two seasons and is owed $82 million over the deal's final four years.

Speaking at a news conference to announce a new minor league ballpark, Torre repeatedly was asked about Giambi, the 2000 AL MVP with Oakland.

"As far as where he's going to be playing, I don't want to comment on it," Torre said. "You never know what's going to happen. I wish Jason well whatever happens."

Torre said major league baseball must immediately resolve the issue of steroid use. The players' association instructed its lawyers Tuesday to attempt to reach an agreement with management on tougher steroid rules and testing.

"This is not about who's better than someone else; this is about who's stronger than someone else," Torre said. "I think baseball players will have to push for changes to make sure they've got the trust of the fans. That's what this is all about. The only way you get to do this is to get both parties to come together on this."

Torre said baseball cannot allow its most sacred records to be tainted by scandal or doubt.

"Statistics are such a big part of baseball because the rules haven't changed over the years," he said.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press