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Hank Steinbrenner hopeful Joe Girardi returns

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TAMPA, Fla. (AP)

Hank Steinbrenner wants Joe Girardi to remain with the New York Yankees and is awaiting the manager's decision on a new contract.

Girardi's current deal expires at the end of the month, and the team offered a new agreement last week.

''It's up to him now,'' Steinbrenner, the team's co-chairman, said Tuesday.

The Yankees failed to make the playoffs for the second time in 19 years and finished with an 85-77 record, their poorest since 1992. All-Stars Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson missed much of the season.

''Well, the No. 1 thing is, and it's not an excuse, the injuries were catastrophic,'' Steinbrenner said. ''And that's the word for it, catastrophic. I've never seen anything like it. We've been in baseball for 40 years, and I haven't seen anything like it. It was crazy.''

New York was mathematically eliminated during the last week of the season, losing nine times in a 12-game span before finishing with a three-game sweep at woeful Houston.

''It's amazing how they hung in for as long as they did,'' Steinbrenner said. ''Showed a lot of toughness.''

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman says the team would like to get under the $189 million luxury-tax threshold for next season, which includes room for about $177 million in salaries. A season-long suspension of Alex Rodriguez would lower the payroll by $27.5 million.

Getting under the threshold would cut the Yankees' tax rate from 50 percent to 17.5 percent in 2015, and there would be additional savings under the revenue sharing plan.

But New York would have to spend if wants to retain second baseman Robinson Cano and Granderson, who are eligible for free agency.

''We want to make improvements now,'' Steinbrenner said. ''The 189 is just a one-year thing. It's not a permanent thing. If we can deal with that, we'll going to try and do that, and that will make it easier for us in the future. But that doesn't mean we won't be able to make some moves.''

Steinbrenner is working to improve the Yankees' player development system, which was not able to provide enough adequate replacements this year for the lost offense when the regulars got hurt.

''We've got to add to what we have in the farm system,'' Steinbrenner said.

The Yankees scheduled organizational meetings beginning this week to determine offseason plans.

''We're still going to do everything we can to win the World Series every year,'' Steinbrenner said.

Tagged: Yankees, Alex Rodriguez

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