- Bruce Levine, Chicago baseball beat reporter
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At age 56, baseball life begins again for former Chicago Cubs general manager Jim Hendry.
Seventeen years after taking his first position under then-Cubs general manager Ed Lynch, Hendry will be a top assistant to Brian Cashman, the New York Yankees announced Thursday.
Hendry was fired by Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts in July but stayed on to sign the team's June draft picks and work the trading deadline that sent outfielder Kosuke Fukudome to the Cleveland Indians for prospects.
"I had the good fortune of being a minor league director and scouting director for [former Cubs president] Andy MacPhail before he hired me as assistant general manager," Hendry said. "I'm very grateful to have had those opportunities for 17 years, and I feel very good about the success we had.
"My only regrets are that we couldn't finish it off. We had a chance three or four times with real good teams. The '03-'04, '07-'08 teams I thought any of those could have gone all the way. Realistically I thought we could win a championship here, and I thought we were capable, but that would be my biggest regret."
After enjoying four months of rest and relaxation, Hendry is ready to get back to work.
“I enjoyed the time away from the 15-hour days, spending time with my children and friends, but I am refreshed and ready to give the Yankees my very best," Hendry said.
Hendry will begin his new job in Tampa the week of Feb. 20. His new position includes major and minor league scouting as well as troubleshooting for Cashman and assistant general manager Billy Eppler. Cashman wants Hendry to stay with the major league team for at least a couple of weeks to form new relationships.
When spring games begin in early March, Hendry will evaluate players in the Cactus and Grapefruit Leagues.
Many industry insiders believe Hendry will be back in a GM role by 2014. But Hendry is not looking ahead.
"This is a job I have and the job I wanted," Hendry said. "I'm not looking to go into this with any thought of staying for a year and then doing something else and getting out. I want to give my total commitment and concentration to the Yankees and Brian Cashman. No one really knows what the future really holds, and this game takes a lot of twists and turns. But there's a lot of variety to the job that Brian has given me, and my goal is to give him and the Yankees my all."
As he moves on, Hendry is appreciative of the opportunity he got with the Cubs.
"I was treated very well by all the people I worked for during my time with the Cubs," he said. "I'll always value the relationships I made with my co-workers, the fans and the media who were always very fair with me."
Cubs add Caridad: The Cubs added pitcher Esmailin Caridad as a non-roster invitee. The 28-year-old right-hander was 3-2 with an 8.27 ERA in 26 games with Triple-A Iowa last season.