Yankees fire Dave Eiland
NEW YORK -- In the wake of the disappointing end to New York's season, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has fired pitching coach Dave Eiland.
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"I'm not going into any detail about what the reasons were," Cashman said on Monday.
Cashman said it had nothing to do with how poorly the Yankees pitched in the American League Championship Series, where they were eliminated by the Texas Rangers in six games. Cashman termed the decision a "private" one.
Toward the end of the first half, Eiland missed nearly a month with an undisclosed personal problem. Eiland's absence coincided with the downfall of A.J. Burnett's season.
Cashman said he thinks Eiland will get another job in the majors as a pitching coach.
"Dave spent his entire coaching career with the Yankees organization, and there is little doubt the impact he had on a great number of pitchers during his tenure," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said in a statement. "He was a passionate and knowledgeable pitching coach on the major league level, and he played a valuable role in our team's achievements in recent years. I wish him continued success moving forward as his baseball career continues to evolve."
Although the Yankees pitchers struggled in the ALCS, the staff's numbers during the regular season actually improved from 2009 to 2010, Justin Havens of ESPN Stats and Information writes. Story
Cashman said he is planning to start negotiations on a new contract with the agent for Girardi on Tuesday. The plan is to sign Girardi, and then the Yankees will figure out who will replace Eiland.
Girardi is 287-199 with New York, winning the 2009 World Series title after the Yankees missed the playoffs in '08, his first season as Joe Torre's replacement, for the first time since 1993.
"I love being here. I've loved working here," Girardi said. "I want to be back. I hope it gets done quickly."
That would give him more time to work on some pressing issues before the start of spring training.
Girardi and Cashman each stressed pitching as an offseason priority, but neither mentioned the most coveted free agent-to-be, Cliff Lee, who has beaten the Yankees three times in the past two postseasons.
"I'm sure we'll definitely look at the free-agent market pitchers and make some evaluations," Girardi said, trying to contain some laughter. "I have to be careful about what I say about free agents at this point."
Despite winning 95 games and leading the majors in scoring, the Yankees sputtered into the postseason, going 29-30 from Aug. 1 on. One issue that money will not be able to solve, however, is how to deal with the aging stars.
The Yankees will most certainly re-sign Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte -- if he wants to return. Alex Rodriguez is signed until his 40s, and 39-year-old catcher Jorge Posada has a year left on his contract.
Other than Rivera, who turns 41 on Nov. 29, they all showed signs of slowing.
Jeter is coming off a season in which he hit a career-low .270 and turned 36. Pettitte, Posada and A-Rod missed time with injuries.
Girardi said Monday that the 38-year-old Pettitte didn't start Game 2 in the ALCS because he hurt his back in his division series start against Minnesota and needed more time to rest.
"It's something that when I took this job that I knew that I'd have to deal with down the road," Girardi said. "I think our players can do it, but maybe not quite at the same pace they did when they were 25 years old."
Still, they're wanted back, even if Posada, Jeter and Rodriguez have to begin to deal with diminished playing time.
Girardi said he hadn't thought about dropping Jeter in the batting order because Jeter hit .334 in 2009 and can still produce.
Cashman agreed, saying "there's still some game left in that guy."
Andrew Marchand covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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