Yankees are in 3rd place, but this Steinbrenner won't admit concern

NEW YORK -- The voice sounds the same. The words never will.

Imagine how George Steinbrenner would have reacted in the middle of May, with his Yankees in third place in the American League East, trailing two teams whose combined payrolls don't even approach what the Yankees are spending.

Then remember that Hal Steinbrenner will never react the same way.

He won't threaten anyone. He won't even admit to being disappointed or upset, or even concerned about the way his 20-16 team is playing.

"I'm concerned about the injuries," Hal said Wednesday morning at the major-league owners meetings in New York. "That's more than half the battle.

"I know they're going to keep trying, keep fighting."

Remember, general manager Brian Cashman admitted to CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman last week that he was disappointed with the Yankees' start.

His boss wouldn't go that far.

Steinbrenner won't even gloat about having forced general manager Brian Cashman to sign Rafael Soriano 16 months ago. With Mariano Rivera and David Robertson both shelved by injuries, the Yankees can feel fortunate to have Soriano available as a fill-in for the fill-in closer.

Cashman thought $35 million for three years was too much to pay for someone whose assignment was to pitch the eighth inning. Now Soriano, who led the league with 45 saves for the Rays in 2010, is pitching the ninth inning for the Yankees.

"Redundancy is not a bad thing," Steinbrenner said.

It wasn't a gloat. It wasn't Boss-like.

It never will be.

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