Girardi joins Yankees' YES network

Updated: February 4, 2004, 4:53 PM ET

NEW YORK -- If Joe Girardi doesn't analyze New York Yankees pitchers from behind the plate this season, he'll do it from the broadcast booth.

"It's just a great opportunity for me," he said Wednesday. "Either way, I'm going to be part of the Yankees."

Girardi will go to spring training on a minor league contract, but the 39-year-old catcher has only a slight chance of making the roster. If he does, he would get a $750,000 contract. If he doesn't, he'll join the YES Network.

He hit .130 in 23 at-bats with St. Louis last season, missing most of the season because of an injured disc. He played with the Yankees from 1996-99, winning three World Series titles, and when New York called, he didn't hesitate.

"I think if you were 75 years old, you'd say yes," he said during a telephone conference call.

Girardi tutored Jorge Posada, who replaced him as the starter. John Flaherty heads to spring training as Posada's backup.

If he doesn't make the team, Girardi could wind up doing onfield work for the Yankees.

"Whatever Mr. Steinbrenner asks me to do," he said. "He's created opportunities for me that I never thought I would have. If he asks me to do some coaching, I probably would do some coaching."

If he winds up with YES, Girardi would work about 50 games, spending some in the broadcast booth. He also will contribute to pregame and postgame segments.

He broadcast last year's first-round playoff series between Atlanta and the Chicago Cubs for ESPN radio, and was in the studio for three World Series games.

"What a gig," he said. "You get to talk about what you love, and you get a great seat to boot."

Ultimately, he wants to become a manager.

"I've always talked abut managing, ever since I've been a player," he said. "It's just a matter of when."

Game notes
The Yankees confirmed their minor league contracts with OF Darren Bragg ($400,000 if added to the major league roster), INFs Homer Bush ($420,000) and Tyler Houston ($900,000). New York also agreed to minor league contracts with RHPs Jim Mann and David Shepard; LHP Donovan Osbourne ($450,000); Cs Sal Fasano, Omar Fuentes, Dioner Navarro, Jon-Mark Sprowl and Steve Torrealba; INFs Erick Almonte ($311,100), Jeff Deardoff ($300,000) and Felix Escalona; and OF John Rodriguez.

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