Yankees expected to miss playoffs, but Steinbrenner says Girardi is safe

TAMPA, Fla. -- The New York Yankees plan to retain Joe Girardi as manager next year.

"Joe will be back," co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner said Monday at the club's spring training complex. "He's done everything he could. That's the bottom line."

Girardi is in his first season managing the Yankees after agreeing to a three-year contract last October to replace Joe Torre. The team is likely to miss the playoffs for the first time since 1993, but Girardi wasn't expected to be fired.

"I've known him for a long time and he was the bench coach here a couple of years ago, so he deserves that opportunity," Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter said after Monday night's 12-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels. "I'd have to say Joe's done exactly what I thought he was going to do. But you've got to realize one thing: Joe's not playing. He puts us on the field and puts us in the best position to go out there and win games, and we haven't done it consistently up to this point."

New York has been hit hard by injuries to ace Chien-Ming Wang, catcher Jorge Posada, pitcher Joba Chamberlain and slugger Hideki Matsui. The offense has struggled and the back end of the rotation has been largely ineffective.

Still to be resolved is who the Yankees general manager will be in 2009. Brian Cashman's contract is up this year, and Steinbrenner said discussions on a possible extension will take place after the season.