Steinbrenner: Yanks not in the market for infielder
Principal owner 'content' with roster despite current ailments to Roberts, Jeter
NEW YORK -- Despite injuries to Brian Roberts and Derek Jeter, the Yankees are not in the market for an additional infielder at the moment, Hal Steinbrenner, the team's principal owner, said on Tuesday morning.
"I'm pretty content with our infield right now," Steinbrenner told a small group of reporters after appearing on a panel during Major League Baseball's Diversity Business Summit at the Manhattan Center.
Jeter (sore right quad) and Roberts (nagging back injury) both missed Sunday's conclusion of a four-game series against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium, a 3-2 Yanks win. Jeter missed the Saturday and Sunday games, although manager Joe Girardi said the first one was a scheduled day off and he wanted Jeter to have three days out of the lineup, including Monday's off-day, for precautionary reasons, because of the injury.
With the postponement of Tuesday night's Jackie Robinson Day festivities and game against the Cubs until Wednesday afternoon as part of a day-night doubleheader, Jeter will now have four days of rest and is expected to play, Girardi said.
Steinbrenner said that because of the play of rookie infielders Dean Anna and Yangervis Solarte and the flexibility of Kelly Johnson, the Yankees are not inclined at the moment to sign a veteran shortstop like free agent Stephen Drew.
"Look, all I can say is that I'm content with the way things are right now," Steinbrenner said. "I'm happy with a couple of our Minor League free-agent signings -- Solarte and Anna -- Jeter has been healthy. So far, I'm pretty content with where we are, but I will always analyze options. That's my job throughout the course of the whole year. It never ends."
Steinbrenner has asked the team's baseball-operations department to hold the line after the club spent $486 million this offseason on major free agents.
The biggest ticket items were a seven-year, $153 million deal with outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury; a seven-year, $155 million contract with pitcher Masahiro Tanaka; catcher Brian McCann for five years, $85 million; and outfielder Carlos Beltran for three years, $45 million. In addition, the Tanaka transaction cost a $20 million posting fee paid to his Japanese club, the Rakuten Golden Eagles.
Steinbrenner said he is upbeat so far about those signings.
"I've been very impressed [with Tanaka] as, I think, everyone was with his poise," Steinbrenner said. "It probably shouldn't be a surprise. You can say what you want about Japanese baseball, but pressure is pressure. That's no different over there than it is over here. It's every bit as intense. I think he proved that he can falter at first and then recover. That's a tough thing, but it's a very good trait to see."
The other guys, Steinbrenner said, "the thing that hasn't been talked about too much is their leadership capabilities in the clubhouse -- off the field, so to speak -- has been great. Every bit we could have hoped for. McCann, in particular. He's tough and the pitchers like him. They know that he's got their back. Just a great guy. Down to earth, but a leader, clearly."
Steinbrenner added that his current stance doesn't preclude some sort of deal later in the season.
"You know me, I will consider anything," Steinbrenner said. "But right now, I'm pretty content with where we're sitting. We've been playing some tough teams. All the American League East teams have been beating up on each other.
"I'm still excited. I'm not liking the injuries we've had so far. They're not as bad as we had last year, but a lot of teams have had worse."