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Old 01-25-09, 10:28 PM
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Torre: Teammates called Rodriguez 'A-Fraud'

Torre: Teammates called Rodriguez 'A-Fraud'
by Susannah Cahalan and James Fanelli, New York Post
Updated: January 25, 2009, 10:53 PM EST


Scorned skipper Joe Torre is blasting the Yankees — calling many of his former players prima donnas, confessing he stopped trusting the powers that be years before he left the team and charging that general manager Brian Cashman betrayed him.

In an explosive new book called The Yankee Years, Torre gets most personal in his attacks against Alex Rodriguez, who he says was called "A-Fraud" by his teammates after he developed a "Single White Female"-like obsession with team captain Derek Jeter and asked for a personal clubhouse assistant to run errands for him.

Torre, who left the Yankees and became manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers after the 2007 season, says Cashman never told the brass that the manager wanted a two-year deal and instead remained silent during Torre's tense final sitdown with the bosses.

The book also reveals that, during spring training in 1999, team doctors revealed to owner George Steinbrenner that Torre had prostate cancer — even before informing the manager himself.

The 477-page tell-all, which The Post purchased from a city bookstore last week, is written by co-author Tom Verducci, a longtime Sports Illustrated reporter.

Torre recounts his 12-year career in New York through interviews. It is being published by Doubleday.

In a brief interview with CNNSI.com, Verducci said it the book was is based on a lot of his own reporting as well and that "Joe Torre doesn't go around ripping people and he doesn't do that in the pages of this book."

A father figure in the dugout, Torre became the second-winningest manager in Yankee history, bringing the team into postseason play every year from 1996 to 2007.

Torre spent years trying to bring out a winning performance from A-Rod, the highest-paid player in baseball, which from all reported accounts included a lot of hand-holding and battling the insecurities and demons Rodriguez struggles with.

And while the Bombers would win four world championships under Torre's watch by 2000, there were years of tension over management's choice of players and the growing silence between him and Yankee brass.

Torre's exit in the fall of 2007 came after a 20-minute meeting over his contract with Steinbrenner and other Yankee officials at the team's Tampa, Fla., office.

At the time, the skipper was coming off a tough and highly scrutinized season. He was seeking a two-year contract with the possibility of a buyout.

The Yankees — in a leadership crisis as Steinbrenner dealt with health issues and his sons, Hank and Hal, tried to step into the void - would only offer a one-year deal at a 30 percent pay cut.

Torre felt that if he didn't get a multiyear deal, the intense media scrutiny would continue.

When he announced that he was leaving the team, Torre told reporters that he found the offer insulting but that he considered Cashman one of the few officials in the meeting to have his back.

Time has clearly soured those sentiments.


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