Joe Torre, Brian Cashman meet, talk

Updated: September 21, 2010, 7:32 AM ET
By Wallace Matthews | ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- Over the 10 years that Brian Cashman was the New York Yankees GM and Joe Torre his field manager, the two spoke on the phone sometimes as many as a dozen times a day.

But that ended when Torre co-authored a book that Cashman and the Yankees believed was inaccurate and, worse, disloyal.

On Monday night, about an hour before the Yankees staged a lavish memorial for the late George Steinbrenner, fate brought the two them together for the first time in nearly two years, a happenstance that Cashman could only attribute to the power of The Boss.

"He was a great individual at bringing people together," Cashman said. "That's the only explanation I can come up with. There was a little bit of divine intervention in how this all played out."

On Friday night in Baltimore, Cashman had said he and the Yankees had "no issues" with Torre and would gladly welcome him back to Yankee Stadium as soon as their estranged ex-manager could find the occasion to return.

Little did Cashman know that three days later, he would find himself in the middle of a very public manhug with Torre outside the interview room, and soon afterward would be having a very private discussion with him in a remote area of the Yankees clubhouse.

"Hey, we gotta talk," an emotional Torre had said to Cashman in the midst of the embrace, and the two began the long process of hashing out their differences over all that has been written and said since the publication of "The Yankee Years" in January 2009.

"I don't want to go through all that was said, but I think we've agreed to put it behind us," Cashman said. "We had a good constructive meeting. We've taken steps to repair whatever got broke."

What got broke was the trust between two men who collaborated on three world championship teams and five American League champions. It had begun to fray at the meeting in Tampa following the 2007 season in which Torre rejected the one-year contract offered by the Yankees, and tore asunder with the publication of the book, co-authored with Tom Verducci, in which the Yankees felt Torre betrayed some players and front-office employees and misrepresented some events.

"We had a long, terrific run," Cashman said. "I would put our relationship while we were working together up against any manager/GM combination in the game. We had a magic carpet ride and almost all of it was positive. My frustration is that you wouldn't necessarily know that from the book."

Torre, who announced Friday that he was stepping down as Dodgers manager after the season, was approached by Yankees chief operating officer Lonn Trost about returning to the Bronx for the memorial ceremony. Both Torre and his bench coach, Don Mattingly, who will replace him as Dodgers manager next season, took advantage of an off day in the Dodgers' schedule to accept the offer. It was their first visit to the new Yankee Stadium since it opened before the 2009 season.

"I'm glad we had a chance to talk and get things moving in the right direction," Cashman said. "We hadn't had a chance to have an honest dialogue. And I hope we can get to the point where we can pick up the phone and have conversations with each other. We've both agreed it's time to turn the page and just move on."

Wallace Matthews covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

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Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
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