Joe Girardi, the New York Yankees manager, brushed aside questions about whether he is interested in managing the Chicago Cubs and insisted he is focused on leading the Yankees to the World Series title. Girardi has strong ties to the Chicago area - he was born in Peoria, Illinois, went to college at Northwestern and played six seasons for the Cubs, who drafted him in 1986. His contract with New York runs out after this season, leading to speculation that he could replace Lou Piniella, who retired last week.
For now, Girardi said, his attention is all on the Yankees. "We're in a tight division race and my job is to prepare this team to play every day and that's what I'm focusing on," he said. "My faith has always been extremely important to me and I've never worried about next year. I'm happy with my contract situation. I feel I'm fortunate to be one of 30 managers with a contract. "There are people in this organisation who have done a lot more for this organisation than I have who don't have contracts. We're not worried about it for next year. I'm worried about right now."
Girardi, 45, was named the National League manager of the year in 2006 with the Florida Marlins and led the Yankees to their first World Series title since 2000 in his second season in the New York dugout. He has a 270-182 record with New York. The Yankees are tied with Tampa Bay for the American League East lead with baseball's best record, 78-50 through Friday night. * Associated Press