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Yankees put off meetings to decide Torre's future until next week

NEW YORK -- The New York Yankees put off their meetings on
Joe Torre's future until next week.

"There have been no discussions, no decisions," Yankees president Randy Levine said
Friday.

The discussions are likely to start Monday night or Tuesday, and
they will probably be held at the team's spring training complex in
Tampa, Fla.

Torre will not be asked to attend the start of the session, when
owner George Steinbrenner, his sons and top aides will discuss
whether to bring the manager back for a 13th season -- which would
be the longest run for a baseball manager in New York since Joe
McCarthy was in the Yankees' dugout from 1931-46.

Steinbrenner said last weekend that he didn't think the Yankees
would keep Torre if the team failed to advance from its first-round
series with Cleveland. New York was eliminated in four games by the
Indians, the Yankees' third straight opening-round exit, but
Steinbrenner has been silent on Torre's fate.

"On any of these matters, the purpose of the meeting is to have
a dialogue and discussion on all of them," Levine said. "All of
the speculation that has occurred this week is not accurate. No
inference can or should be drawn in any way. Everybody is going
into these meetings with a clear head and open mind."

Next week's meetings will likely include Steinbrenner's, Hal
and Hank; son-in-law Felix Lopez; Levine; chief operating officer
Lonn Trost; and general manager Brian Cashman. Baseball operations
officials, such as Mark Newman and Gene Michael, are likely to be
part of some sessions.

"I think it could be that just about everything that's on the
table now could be decided by the end of next week," Hank Steinbrenner said outside Legends Field.

Since the Yankees' season ended Monday, New York players,
politicians and even opponents have urged Steinbrenner to retain
the affable 67-year-old New York native. Red Sox designated hitter
David Ortiz was among the latest to speak out in support of Torre -- something his manager, Terry Francona, did last week.

"Every organization is like a human body. It has a head that if
you mess with it, it just goes down," Ortiz said. "Joe Torre is
the head of that organization. He's one of the best managers in
baseball. You've got to have a good head to keep the body together
like that."

Ortiz credited Torre for helping the Yankees overcome a 21-29
start to make the playoffs as the AL wild-card team.

"Even if they got knocked out, you've got to give him credit
for that. You've definitely got to give the man respect," Ortiz said. "If he doesn't go back to the Yankees, they're going to feel
that next year somewhere. This guy knows what he's doing."

Torre made $7 million in 2007, the final year of a three-year deal worth $19.2 million. He was the game's highest-paid manager, earning double the salary of Cubs manager Lou Piniella.

Along with the groundswell of support from his players and opponents alike, attention paid to Torre has seemed suffocating. Newspaper photographers and TV camera people have been a persistent presence on Torre's front lawn and driveway this week.

"In the postgame Monday, Joe said there's always a vigil on his front lawn every year and he asked this year if they could respect his privacy," Jason Zillo, the Yankees' director of media relations, said.

Not all media outlet acquiesced, and when the team's clubhouse opened Tuesday, Zillo said he told the media that their photographers and camera crews had to leave Torre's home or their clubhouse access that day would be revoked.

"It's not about being the smartest baseball man anymore," Boston pitcher Curt Schilling said. "It has to do with people skills, especially when you play in these markets. When you play in Boston and New York, you deal with things that no one else has to deal with."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.