Joe Girardi: 'I take responsibility' for Yankees' failures

Joe Girardi didn't duck responsibilty for the Yankees' poor start on Wednesday despite being given a pass from Hal Steinbrenner earlier in the day. G Fiume/Getty Images

PHOENIX -- Joe Girardi said he hadn't seen the comments of Hal Steinbrenner absolving him, his coaches and GM Brian Cashman of culpability in the New York Yankees' poor start.

But Girardi wasn't about to accept the absolution of his boss without at least an attempt at shouldering some of the blame.

"Because I didn’t see them and talk to Hal, I don’t really have any comment," Girardi said Wednesday before his last-place team took the field trying to avert a sweep at the hands of the also-struggling Arizona Diamondbacks. "I always take full responsibility for what happens here -- good or bad. It’s my job to get the best out of the players and right now, we’re not performing to the level I think we’re capable of.”

Even though he said he had not read Steinbrenner's comments placing blame on the underperforming Mark Teixeira, Chase Headley, Michael Pineda and Luis Severino, Girardi said he was not surprised by what Steinbrenner had to say.

“Everybody is frustrated," Girardi said. "If I was the owner, I’d be frustrated, too.”

Without providing specifics, Girardi indicated Steinbrenner has communicated his frustration with the Yankees' poor start personally to his manager.

“We’ve talked," Girardi said. "We’ve met. We’ve met as a staff. Hal is pretty even keel. We talked about areas that we were struggling, how to try to approach it and fix them. We’ve been doing that."

Steinbrenner made his comments outside Major League Baseball's Park Avenue offices in New York during a recess in the quarterly owner's meetings. Asked what a manager could specifically do to improve the performance of an underperforming and aging roster, Girardi could only provide generalities.

“There’s a lot of different things you can do," he said. "A lot of it is trying to build confidence in them, trying to find little things to maybe where they’re mechanically off, studying tape. Sometimes it’s tough love. There are a lot of different things you try as a manager to get players going. I was a guy that experienced all those different things when I was a player. You just keep trying.”

But he was quite specific when asked if he still believed the Yankees -- who entered Wednesday's play at 16-22 and in last place in the American League East, 7 1/2 games behind the Baltimore Orioles -- were a playoff-caliber team.

“I do," he said. "Obviously we have not played up to that level and we need to change things around. But I do. I wouldn’t come to work if I didn’t."