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Wednesday, February 14
Torre wonders about Knoblauch

TAMPA, Fla. – Joe Torre began spring training the same way he ended the World Series – wondering about second baseman Chuck Knoblauch's arm.

"I think Knoblauch, to me, is the first curiosity," Torre said on Wednesday as the three-time World Series champions opened spring training.

"I know he's gone through a tough time. He's No. 1 in my mind," Torre said. "It is just he means so much to this team, and we're much a better team with him here. All he has to do is be himself. He doesn't have to show anything magical."

Knoblauch made 15 errors in the first half of the 2000 season, many on throws, and missed much of the second half because of elbow pain. Not trusting the arm of the former Gold Glove second baseman, Torre didn't use Knoblauch in the field during the postseason.

"Hopefully, I can try to get back to the player I've been," said Knoblauch, who has been working out for a month at the Yankees minor league complex. "My goal this year is just to get back to playing good baseball."

Torre, in the last year of a contract that pays him $3 million, opened camp by saying he wants to manage beyond this season.

"I think I would miss this," Torre said. "When I got back from vacation and went to the (New York) writer's dinner, it really got me going, because you're around baseball people and you start thinking about spring training. I got excited about it. I think I probably would like to do it."

Knoblauch, whose contract also expires after this season, is believed to have an $18 million, two-year extension in place.

Torre said Knoblauch's future is at second, and that he doesn't what to use him as a designated hitter the way he did last September and October.

"I don't want to do that, I really don't," Torre said. "That to me was just a short-term way to get him into the lineup. I'm not thinking long-term DH Chuck Knoblauch."

Knoblauch says that he's in a good frame of mind.

"I still have fun playing baseball," he said. "Playing good baseball, that's really fun. Not having to go through the things I've been through, that was no fun at all. As you go through adversity, you see what you're made out of."

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