Cashman offers support to A-Rod
NEW YORK -- Brian Cashman thinks the Yankees should rally around Alex Rodriguez following a book in which former manager Joe Torre portrayed A-Rod as a divisive figure in the New York clubhouse.
"I think we've gone through so much of the Alex stuff that, you know, if anything, maybe this brings people closer together," Cashman said Monday during a conference call to announce Andy Pettitte was returning to the team in 2009.
In "The Yankee Years," scheduled for publication Feb. 3, Torre says "Alex monopolized all the attention" and that "he needs people to make a fuss over him."
"We never really had anybody who craved the attention. I think when Alex came over, he certainly changed the feel of the club," Torre said.
The book, by Torre and Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci, details how some teammates referred to A-Rod as "A-Fraud" after he joined the team for the 2004 season.
"I have never one time heard of the term 'A-Fraud' until I saw that rolling on the TV, I guess this morning or whenever they started reporting it," said Pettitte, who rejoined the Yankees for the 2007 season. "If it did go on, it went on before I was there."
New York hasn't been to the World Series since Rodriguez put on pinstripes.
"There's always going to be some controversy that surrounds this club," Cashman said. "The best way to try to deal with it is, I guess, rally around each other the best you can if there's real feelings there."
"That was real," Cashman said. "It was offered up."
Torre was hired before the 1996 season and led the Yankees to four World Series titles in his first five years. He left after the 2007 season, insulted he was offered a $5 million, one-year contract with performance bonuses rather than a multiyear deal.
Torre was critical of Cashman's inaction during the meeting in Tampa, Fla., when the manager pleaded his case before owner George Steinbrenner and team executives.
"Cash was sitting right over my shoulder and never uttered a sound the whole meeting," Torre said.
Cashman said Torre, now manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, telephoned him Sunday from Hawaii following reports on the book's contents.
"I'm comfortable with my relationship and how we interacted throughout the entire process," Cashman said, adding that Torre led him to believe "our relationship is strong."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press