Hal Steinbrenner backs Girardi as playoffs near

Sep 30, 2009 - 11:13 PM NEW YORK(AP) -- Yankees manager Joe Girardi is heading into the playoffs with an endorsement from the Steinbrenner family.

"Joe has had a tremendous year this year, we all know that," Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said Wednesday. "He's got the best record in baseball. As far as I am concerned, as far as the family is concerned, as far as the organization is, concerned he's the man for the job."

After missing the postseason in the first year after Girardi replaced Joe Torre, ending a streak of 13 consecutive playoff appearances, the Yankees already have clinched the AL East for the first time since 2006 and will head to the postseason with the best record in the major leagues.

"I'm thankful," Girardi said after hearing Steinbrenner's remarks. "The Steinbrenner family has treated me great since I first got here in 1996 - as a player, as a coach, as a broadcaster, as a manager. They've have always been great to my family and I. You know, our goal in here is to bring another championship to the Steinbrenner family, and I think that's one way of thanking them."

Speaking after a news conference to announce a football bowl game at Yankee Stadium, Steinbrenner said he was excited and confident heading into the playoffs. Girardi is completing the second season of a three-year contract, but Steinbrenner isn't thinking about an extension.

"Trying to focus on the playoffs, as I should be everyone should be," Steinbrenner said. "Let's focus, keep our eye on the ball, focus on the playoffs."

In talking about the team's goals, Hal Steinbrenner sounded a bit like his famous father, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. The owner plans to be at playoff home games, particularly if New York reaches the World Series.

"I have the genetics that certainly lead me to believe that if you don't win the championship, you are not doing your job for the City of New York or our fans," Hal Steinbrenner said.

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