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Torre tables Boss retortWill answer George jabs after seasonBY SAM BORDENDAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITERJoe Torre faces the media yesterday, a day after George Steinbrenner questions his use of pitchers.Skipper says he'll answer The Boss after the season.Joe Torre didn't fire back at George Steinbrenner yesterday, but that doesn't mean he'll keep quiet forever.The Yankee manager refused to get into a war of words with his Boss, who publicly questioned Torre's decision to use Alan Embree in the ninth inning of Tuesday night's 2-1 loss to the White Sox, saying he didn't want to risk distracting his team during the final months of the season.After the season, however, Torre plans to speak out."I'll answer questions about my managing decisions (now), but I'd prefer, because of the distraction it could cause - and this time of year, we don't want to cause any distractions - I'd rather defer until after the season to make any comments about Mr. Steinbrenner," Torre said tersely before the Yanks' 2-1 loss to the White Sox.What will he say then? Who knows, but Torre signed a contract extension before last season that has about $12million and two more seasons remaining on it, so he and Steinbrenner will likely continue to coexist for a while - unless the Yanks miss the playoffs, in which case the situation becomes impossible to predict."When I manage teams, I manage them to try to win, as opposed to worrying about what people are going to say about it," Torre said. "I would rather make reference to anything Mr. Steinbrenner says after the season. This time of year, we're at a point where the last thing you want is for something to take away from what we're trying to do. ... Keep a list of all the things you want to ask me, and at the end of the year, I'll come up with answers."Torre didn't seem particularly fazed by the situation, but he couldn't have been happy with Steinbrenner criticizing him yet again. Torre and The Boss have been down this road many times before, though most of Steinbrenner's comments on Torre earlier this season, released through spokesman Howard Rubenstein, of course, have been positive, typically expressing faith in the abilities of Torre and GM Brian Cashman to turn the Yankees around.But The Boss' tone was harsh as he left the Stadium late Tuesday. When asked what he thought of Embree, who had worked the eighth inning before giving up a home run to Sox slugger Paul Konerko in the ninth that proved to be the decisive run, Steinbrenner vilified Torre for sticking with the lefthanded reliever."I'm not pleased with the manager," The Boss said. "I don't know about why they left the lefthander in. He had a good inning and they kept him in there. He should never have pitched to Konerko - he's their best hitter."Torre defended his decision, noting Konerko's numbers against lefthanders were significantly lower than against righthanders (.209, 6 homers in 87 at-bats vs. .284, 21 homers in 311 at-bats); he also said if the Yanks had been tied or leading (they trailed, 1-0), he would have used someone else (likely Tom Gordon or Tanyon Sturtze). "If I had the same situation to do over again with the same information in my hands, I certainly would make the same decision," Torre said.Steinbrenner, through Rubenstein, declined to comment any further on the situation.Torre is doing his best to keep the players' attention on the playoff chase and not on any internal squabbling."This is my job," Torre said. "The best way to do it is to try and make sure we concentrate all of our efforts on the field, try to keep our focus."Originally published on August 11, 2005
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