NEW YORK (AP) -Joe Girardi is back in pinstripes, taking over as New York Yankees manager from his mentor.
Girardi was hired Tuesday, agreeing to a three-year contract to replace Joe Torre in New York's dugout.
``I think any of us would be somewhat surprised to get the job because it's such an honor,'' Girardi said. ``I'm extremely excited and thrilled.
``I can't be Joe Torre, because I'm made up different. I'm a different character. I'm just worried about being myself and getting the most out of the guys.''
The deal is worth an average salary of at least $2 million annually, a baseball official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the team has not announced the details.
Girardi was the 2006 NL Manager of the Year with Florida, plus he has a pinstriped pedigree. The hard-nosed catcher played on three Yankees teams that won the World Series, served as their bench coach under Torre and was a TV announcer this year.
``Joe Girardi is a good man,'' Torre said Monday on ``Late Show with David Letterman.'' ``He's got a feel for this organization.''
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was impressed by three attributes he saw in Girardi: hard work, accountability and discipline.
``He likes to compete all the time,'' Cashman said. ``We believe he's mentally tough.''
Once he was informed Monday that the Yankees had chosen Girardi, Don Mattingly told the team he had no interest in returning next year as bench coach or in any other coaching position.
Beloved as team captain, Donnie Baseball was the early favorite to replace Torre and openly coveted the spot. Instead, the Yankees picked experience over popularity, choosing Girardi even at the risk Mattingly would walk away from the franchise.
``I think Joe is a good baseball person and totally will be a great manager there in New York,'' Mattingly said.
Still, spurning Mattingly - who always receives one of the loudest ovations on Old-Timers' Day - was sure to be compared to another famous Yankee snub: Babe Ruth was never offered the manager's job he so desperately wanted.
``It's no secret that Donnie is extremely important to the Steinbrenner family and the Yankee organization and always will be,'' said Hank Steinbrenner, son of owner George Steinbrenner.
Mattingly was the Yankees hitting coach for three years before moving next to Torre this season. Girardi also beat out Yankees first-base coach Tony Pena, who had the most managerial experience of the candidates.
Girardi caught for the Yankees from 1996-99, served as a bench coach in 2005, then managed the Marlins the following year. He kept a young team in contention until September and then was fired, apparently for clashing with owner Jeffrey Loria and others above him.
The 43-year-old Girardi often told many in the Marlins about how the Yankees did things, reinforcing the winning ways he learned in New York. Now, he'll get a chance to try them out himself.
Girardi was the first person to interview to replace Torre, who managed the team to the playoffs in each of his 12 seasons. Girardi turned down the Baltimore Orioles' managing job last summer, choosing to spend time with his ailing father.
Mattingly also interviewed for the Yankees spot last week, telling team management how much he wanted it. Earlier this month, he said replacing Torre would be quite a challenge.
``It's like following John Wooden or something,'' Mattingly said then.
Girardi gets the unenviable task of following Torre, who led the Yankees to four World Series titles in his first five years - but none since - and was one of the most celebrated sports figures in the city.
Girardi inherits a team in transition and one without Alex Rodriguez. He also is not assured of getting back pitchers Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera or catcher Jorge Posada.
``Obviously they are important Yankees, and they have meant so much to the organization,'' Girardi said.
Rivera and his agent, Fernando Cuza, were at Legends Field in Tampa on Tuesday, to talk with Yankees officials. The ace reliever, who has filed for free agency, said only, ``We've got to see something.''
Afterward, Cuza said they had a good meeting but wouldn't speculate whether Rivera will be a Yankee next season.
``I don't know,'' Cuza said. ``It's up to them.''
Rodriguez informed the Yankees on Sunday that he was terminating his contract and becoming a free agent. The Yankees have repeatedly said they wouldn't negotiate with A-Rod if he hit the open market.
``You are going to miss those 54 home runs and 150-plus RBIs, but to me you can't look backwards, you have to look forwards,'' Girardi said.
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Freelance writer Mark Didtler in Tampa, Fla., contributed to this report.

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