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Steinbrenner: Torre to return in '04
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10/03/2003  8:50 PM ET 
Steinbrenner: Torre to return in '04
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Joe Torre is finishing up his eighth season as manager of the Yankees. (Julie Jacobson/AP)
MINNEAPOLIS -- Owner George Steinbrenner says Joe Torre will return to manage the New York Yankees in 2004.

Steinbrenner gave his manager a vote of confidence Friday after a national newspaper suggested that Torre be fired if the Yankees were to lose in the first round of the playoffs.

Al Neuharth, the founder of USA Today, wrote in his editorial "Forum" on Friday that "if the Yankees don't make it, the best boss in baseball, George Steinbrenner, finally can show the door to baseball's most overrated manager, Joe Torre."

Neuharth, who watched Thursday night's Game 2 from one of Steinbrenner's private boxes at the stadium, questioned Torre's managerial style in his piece.

"As a lifelong Yankee fan, I think the head groundskeeper could have managed as well as, or better than, Torre has during the past three seasons' playoffs," Neuharth wrote. "Going into Thursday night's game, he has just one win in the past seven showdowns."

Steinbrenner released a statement in response to Neuharth's piece, backing Torre completely.

"I have great respect for Al Neuharth as a businessman and an innovator," Steinbrenner said in a statement. "On this one, he's wrong. He's been caught off base. Joe Torre is my manager. I support him. He's done the job. And he'll be my manager next year."

Torre, who was at the Metrodome for the Yankees' workout, said that he had not read the USA Today piece, so he could not comment on it.

Torre, who has managed the Yankees to four World Series titles and five American League pennants, is under contract through the 2004 season.

Mark Feinsand is a reporter for The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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