Steinbrenner Vows Yankees to Take Steps Toward 2013 Championship

The New York Yankees, who were swept from the playoffs, will “take the necessary steps” as they focus on returning to the top of Major League Baseball in 2013, Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner said.

“We fell short of our singular and constant goal, which is a World Series championship,” Steinbrenner said yesterday in a statement released by the team, one day after the Yankees were knocked out of the American League Championship Series by the Detroit Tigers.

New York, swept by the Tigers 4-0 in the best-of-seven series, batted .188 in the 2012 playoffs and scored in only three of 39 innings against the Tigers. Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, Alex Rodriguez, Nick Swisher and Russell Martin hit a combined .122 for the Yankees.

“Make no mistake, this was a bitter end to our year, and we fully intend to examine our season in its totality, assess all of our strengths and weaknesses and take the necessary steps needed to maintain our sole focus of winning the World Series in 2013,” he said. “Great teams -- and organizations -- use disappointment as a motivation for future improvements and success.”

Steinbrenner said third baseman Rodriguez, who was taken out of the starting lineup for the final two games against the Tigers, was being blamed unfairly for the losses, according to the Associated Press.

“He was just one of quite a few that just had a bad time at the plate,” Steinbrenner said, according to the AP. “So, is it fair to accuse him of everything but the Kennedy assassination? No, it’s not fair, but we’ll see what happens from this point on.”

Rodriguez, 37, who has said he wants to stay with the Yankees, was the highest-salaried player in MLB this season at $29 million and has five years remaining on the 10-year, $275 million contract he signed in December 2007.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nancy Kercheval in Washington at nkercheval@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net.

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