Girardi will return in '09

Girardi will return in '09

ANAHEIM -- The Yankees appear likely to miss the postseason for the first time in more than a decade, but the club plans to retain Joe Girardi as manager for the 2009 season.

Yankees co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner confirmed on Monday that Girardi -- who is piloting the club in the first year of a three-year contract -- will return next year.

"Joe will be back," Steinbrenner told the Associated Press Monday at the club's Spring Training complex. "He's done everything he could. That's the bottom line."

Girardi made little secret of his goal for his maiden campaign, selecting uniform No. 27, indicative of the Yankees' total of 26 World Series titles. But while he continues to preach optimism, the club has endured a trying season marked by injuries and inconsistency, including the season-ending losses of catcher Jorge Posada and right-hander Chien-Ming Wang.

Additionally, right-hander Joba Chamberlain and designated hitter Hideki Matsui spent large portions of time on the disabled list. Rookies Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy both opened the season in the starting rotation but remain winless, and the club's offense will fall well short of the 968 runs it scored in 2007 to lead the Major Leagues.

The Yankees entered play on Monday in fourth place in the American League East, the first time they have resided lower than second place in the month of September since divisional realignment in 1994.

New York had not been in fourth place this late in the season since 1992, though Girardi continues to preach a message of hope and believes his club's approach remains strong. He said on Monday that he is not interested in reflecting on his year yet.

"I won't think about that. There are a lot of other important things to consider than to think about yourself," Girardi said. "To me, you think about the game tonight. I'll self-evaluate after the season."

With Girardi remaining for the opening of a state-of-the-art new Yankee Stadium in 2009, the Yankees still have a major decision to tackle regarding the future of general manager Brian Cashman, whose contract will expire on Oct. 31.

Cashman has been the Yankees' GM since 1998 and was a key proponent of the club keeping its young players in a long-term plan, pushing against a Steinbrenner-backed trade that would have brought the Yankees ace Johan Santana from the Twins.

Both Hank and Hal Steinbrenner, who oversee the day-to-day operations of the club, have been quoted as saying they would like Cashman to return in 2009, but Cashman has said that no discussions will take place until after the season.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.