Williams still a no-show; Cashman not sure he'll come

Updated: February 20, 2007, 9:57 AM ET
Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. -- Bernie Williams was nowhere to be seen, and Yankees general manager Brian Cashman doesn't think that will change.

"It appears he made his decision. That's all I can take from it," Cashman said. "I'm assuming at this stage that he's not coming."

Bernie Williams
Williams

Yankees position players took physicals Monday, a day ahead of their first workout. Manager Joe Torre, fighting a cold, went home before the end of Monday's workout and didn't speak with reporters. Torre had planned to call Williams again Sunday, and Cashman said he didn't hear that a conversation took place.

Catcher Jorge Posada has called Williams several times -- he placed another call Sunday -- but hasn't reached Williams.

"I don't think he'll be here," Posada said. "I don't think we're going to see him unless Joe Torre convinces him."

Williams has been in the Yankees' organization since signing with them on his 17th birthday in 1985, and he came up to the major league club in 1991. With the emergence of Melky Cabrera as the fourth outfielder, the move of Jason Giambi to designated hitter and the planned platoon at first base, there's no room for a fifth outfielder on the roster.

"I'm going to work as if I'm playing first base. That's going to be up to Joe. It's not going to be my decision," Giambi said. "I'd love to have Bernie around here. He's a great teammate. I'll do whatever it takes. If that gives him an opportunity, that would great."

Torre said Sunday that Williams was hurt the Yankees didn't offer him a guaranteed spot on their regular-season roster. Williams doesn't want to play for any other team, and Torre said that if he wants to extend his career, he should report with or close to the other position players.

"Obviously because of who he is, if he needs a little extra time to decide, then obviously I think there's a little time that you can give," Cashman said. "If Bernie wants to continue to play and if he wants to compete for it, I wish he would accept the opportunity as a non-roster invite to come in and fight for it. If it's that important to him, I wish he would consider it. A non-roster situation is not something that I offered out of disrespect. It's just the only way I can provide for all parties to get satisfied in where we are this time and place."

Yankees general partner Steve Swindal wished Williams would have come to camp.

"He's such an integral part of the Yankees' success and the run that we've had. So, yes, I'm sad that he's not here," Swindal said. "He's like family."

Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, Posada and perhaps others have unsuccessfully tried to reach the 38-year-old outfielder.

"I would have told to him to get here and try to earn a job," Posada said. "You show them you still belong."

Notes
Because Mike Mussina's locker is in the corner and he couldn't see the clocks by the clubhouse doors, the Yankees installed a new clock next to his stall. ... Giambi (offseason wrist surgery) has been swinging a bat -- but not at balls -- for two weeks. "I got the OK at the beginning of February," he said. Giambi is expected to be the regular DH this season. "It's more important for me to win and get a World Series ring," Giambi said. "I enjoy playing first base, but at the same time you think about it from a team perspective. I'm getting older. So it's whatever the ballclub needs." ... RHP Carl Pavano took part in fielding drills and had a 12-minute bullpen session. He was held out of the fielding workout Sunday because of "heavy legs." ... LF Hideki Matsui has been swinging a bat for month. He spent time on the DL last season with a broken wrist.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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