- Andrew Marchand, ESPNNewYork.com
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NEW YORK -- Even with the New York Yankees having relinquished a 10-game lead in the AL East, Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner said neither manager Joe Girardi's job, nor anyone else's, is in danger.
"Jobs are not riding on this," Steinbrenner said, speaking to a small group of reporters in the corridors of Yankee Stadium.
Steinbrenner said the team examines everything in the offseason, but he seemed to be satisfied with Girardi and all of the Yankees' personnel.
The Yankees entered Monday's game against the Red Sox tied for the AL East lead with the Baltimore Orioles after having owned a 10-game lead after play concluded July 18th.
Even then, Steinbrenner, 42, said he felt like the Yankees would have trouble hanging on to the advantage. He said he shared his feelings with the then-injured Andy Pettitte.
"Andy and I were texting about two or three months ago when we had the 10-game lead, I said, 'We really need you back,' " Steinbrenner said. "'We really need your leadership because I have a feeling this is going to be a lot closer than 10 games come the end.' It is. We built up that 10-game lead. It was a great thing. We had injuries, as other clubs did. It is what it is."
Steinbrenner reiterated that he plans on cutting the Yankees' payroll by 2014. Under the new collective bargaining agreement, the Yankees could save tens of millions of dollars if they lower their payroll -- now around $200 million -- to $189 million.
"I've made it clear that is very important to me, for several reasons," Steinbrenner said. "You are talking about a 10 percent reduction in payroll. I don't see that as an outrageous concept. I never have."
The Yankees have wanted to build up their young starting pitching in preparation for 2014. David Phelps has emerged as a possible future major league starter, while top prospects Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances struggled.
Banuelos never pitched after May because of an elbow problem, while the Yankees demoted Betances from Triple-A to Double-A because of wildness. The Yankees traded for Michael Pineda in the offseason. Pineda hurt his shoulder in spring training and won't return until next year.
"I think Phelps has been a pleasant surprise," Steinbrenner said. "We have Banuelos. We have Betances. We will see how they progress. Obviously, we have Pineda. He will be coming back from surgery next year. We've got some good young pitchers. You obviously throw (Phil Hughes and (Ivan Nova in there, too. So, we'll just have to see. That's '14."
Right now, Steinbrenner said he is "tense."
"I'm excited," Steinbrenner said. "I think we would all like a bit more breathing room. Right now, we have zero breathing room. We have had a few good weeks. They have been playing tough. We have (Mark Teixeira) back tonight, which could only help and be a boost."
Even with the New York Yankees having relinquished a 10-game lead in the AL East, Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner said manager Joe Girardi's job, nor anyone else's, is in danger.