NEW YORK (AP) -Now in his 12th season as manager of the New York Yankees, Joe Torre has been on the hot seat before. That's what happens when you work for George Steinbrenner - no matter how many World Series rings you've won.
So Torre hardly sounded surprised Saturday when he started getting peppered with questions about his job security. The Yankees began the day on a seven-game losing streak, their longest since the 2000 season, and one New York tabloid reported that Steinbrenner was already fuming about the team's 8-13 start.
``That's what you understand when you take on this job,'' Torre said.
He went through the same thing when the Yankees opened 11-19 in 2005. Then, last year, Steinbrenner was said to be ready to fire Torre after New York was upset by the Detroit Tigers in the playoffs - its second consecutive first-round exit.
Many think the 76-year-old owner was talked out of that move by other club executives. Regardless, Torre was brought back in the final season of his contract. But an April slump has left many wondering if he's on a short leash.
``I've got a job to do. I certainly don't go out there managing to try to keep my job,'' said Torre, calm and collected as usual. ``I can't concern myself with what might happen.
``The losing is much worse than the questioning, so don't worry about it. Knock yourselves out.''
Steinbrenner isn't saying anything publicly - yet.
``So far not. We'll see after this weekend,'' spokesman Howard Rubenstein said Saturday. ``You can imagine how he feels.''
Beset by a rash of injuries to its starting pitchers, New York began the day in last place in the AL East despite a $195 million opening-day payroll. The Yankees were 6 1/2 games behind the division-leading Red Sox.
``It has as much to do with injuries as anything else,'' general manager Brian Cashman said. ``Right now we're all frustrated with what's going on, and anything can happen because of that.''
The losing streak started with Boston's three-game sweep at Fenway Park last weekend. Add in Friday night's loss to the Red Sox at home and New York opened 0-4 against its longtime rival this year.
``I think the fact that it's them certainly magnifies the problem,'' Torre said. ``They started us on this bad streak and, like I say, we'd like to get out of it against them.
``We need to win a ballgame to help our personality, to get sort of the swagger back,'' he added. ``This is a tough time we're going through. When you're losing, it's an uneasy feeling.''
Torre said he called Steinbrenner early in the week when the Yankees were playing at Tampa Bay - after they were swept in Boston.
``He wasn't happy,'' Torre said. ``He's got every right not to be happy. We're not happy, either.
``I do talk to him on a regular basis,'' the manager added. ``After the time we've been together, he pretty much knows me and I know him. I understand his frustration.''
The Yankees won four World Series championships in the first five years of Torre's tenure and they have captured nine consecutive AL East titles. But they haven't been to the World Series since 2003, and they haven't won it all since 2000.
``I'm going to do the best I can to please him,'' Torre said. ``This is my responsibility. I certainly don't want to pawn it off. I'm in charge here.''
As for Cashman, he canceled a scouting trip to the Dominican Republic next week.
``We just have too much going on,'' he said. ``Hopefully, the health will get better. In the meantime, we've got to find a way to win some games - sooner than later.''
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AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum contributed to this report.
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