Jose Contreras had a bullpen session for the Yankee brass in Tampa yesterday and is scheduled to pitch a simulated game on Thursday. If all goes well, Contreras will start next Tuesday night for the Columbus Clippers. While George Steinbrenner has remained mum about the subject, Joe Torre has put his beef with George behind him:
"That's as far as this is going," he said. "Yesterday was our farewell swan song for that."
Mike Lupica spoke with former Yankee manager Dallas Green, who clashed plenty with George during his stint at the helm of the Bombers in 1989. Here is Green's take on the Torre-George affair:
I feel as if I know JoeTorre pretty well, and it must have taken a hell of a lot for him to take whatever beef he has with Steinbrenner this far. Particularly because he's been the one guy in all of history who's been able to work hand in hand with George, or at least the job George wants done with the Yankees."
"One more thing," Dallas Green, now a senior adviser with the Phillies, says. "Joe Torre is not an easygoing guy, even if he comes across that way. He is a tough guy. A tough, quiet, tough guy. If he thinks he's right and you're wrong, he's not going to let go. It's why I believe that eventually he'll have a face-to-face with George and get this straightened out, at least for the time being. After the season? I don't know.
"I keep hearing he won't ever walk away from his contract. I have a feeling Joe's got enough by now. And after this season, he might have reached the point where he feels as if he's done enough. And as if he's had enough."
We will be hearing that this is Joe's last year for the next six months, so we had better get used to it. Still, Green hit the nail on the head when he said:
..."Maybe it was as simple as him sending a message to his players at the same time he was sending one to George," Green says. "There's always the understanding, in every single clubhouse, that the clubhouse is for or against the manager. I'd assume that clubhouse is stronger than ever now for Mr. Torre."