Torre, Cashman put past behind them

Torre, Cashman put past behind them

NEW YORK -- Former Yankees manager Joe Torre visited the new Yankee Stadium for the first time on Monday for the unveiling of a monument honoring George Steinbrenner, the principal owner who passed away earlier this year.

As no small footnote to the event, Torre met with Yankees general manager Brian Cashman to iron out any hard feelings that evolved from Torre's exit after the 2007 season.

Torre, who recently announced that this season will be his final as manager of the Dodgers, hadn't been to New York for any Yankees-related events since his departure nearly three years ago. Cashman was evidently upset about comments made by Torre about the GM in Torre's 2009 book, "The Yankee Years," Torre said at a news conference.

"Cash and I, we worked together for 12 years," said Torre, who was invited to attend Monday's unveiling along with former Yankees first baseman and coach Don Mattingly, set to be Torre's replacement as manager in Los Angeles.

"We got along fine and we worked together very well. I know he was offended by some of the stuff he read that Tom [Verducci] and I wrote. I hope and anticipate that we'll shake hands and hopefully be done with anything that kept that [shaking hands] from being the case."

Cashman happened to be passing by in the corridor outside the conference room just after the media session ended and was told that Torre was still inside giving interviews. Cashman entered and the two men hugged. From there, they went into the Yankees' clubhouse for a short meeting. Cashman hadn't spoken to Torre since January 2009, just before the book was published.

Torre had called Cashman from Hawaii to try to explain excerpts that had leaked in the local New York newspapers.

"We just had a chance to talk, which is not something we've done lately," Cashman said about the meeting. "I think that was good. I'm glad he's here. I was GM for 10 of his 12 years, and we had a magic carpet ride. Almost all of it was positive.

"I don't think you'd necessarily know that with the book, but he wasn't the guy writing all of it, I guess. I'm glad we got a chance to talk and get things going in the right direction. You're certainly not going to do that without talking."

At the center of the dispute was whether Cashman had actually gone to bat strongly for Torre at a meeting in Tampa, Fla., after the Yankees were eliminated by the Indians in the 2007 American League Division Series. At the meeting, Torre was offered a one-year contract to return for '08 that slashed his base salary and added incentives for each round of the playoffs the Yankees reached that year.

After turning down the offer, Torre said he asked Cashman to go back into the room and tell members of the Yankees' hierarchy that he wanted a two-year deal. It was Torre's opinion that Cashman didn't back Torre hard enough.

Torre's Yankees made the playoffs in all 12 of the seasons he managed the team from 1996-2007, and they won four World Series and six AL pennants in the process. Cashman was either assistant GM or GM during Torre's tenure.

After the 2007 season, Torre chose to join the Dodgers, with whom he's now finishing a three-year tour. The Dodgers, under Torre, were defeated by the Phillies in the National League Championship Series in 2008 and '09, giving him a personal run of 14 seasons in the playoffs as a manager. That will end this season.

Under current manager Joe Girardi, the Yankees missed the playoffs in 2008 but defeated the Phillies last year to win their 27th World Series. With 90 wins entering Monday, they are on the cusp of returning to playoffs for the 15th time in the last 16 seasons. Prior to Torre's tenure, the Yanks made the playoffs in 1995 under Buck Showalter.

"Unfortunately, because I gave people my interpretation of things, it looked like because I left I was saying these bad things," Torre said, again referring to the book. "I certainly anticipate putting all of that stuff behind us."

Cashman said he was ready to do just that.

"I think we've agreed to just put it behind us," Cashman said. "I don't want to go through what was said. We had a long, terrific run. I would put our relationship while we were working together right up against anyone in the game.

"We had a good, constructive meeting. We've taken the steps to start to repair whatever got broke. I hope [from now on] we can communicate, pick the phone up and have conversations with each other."

Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.