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MLB: Yankees' Steinbrenner issues letter to fans

The SportsXchange

Amid a listless end to their 2012 season, New York Yankees managing general partner Hank Steinbrenner issued a statement to fans.

The Yankees, who won 95 games during the regular season, but were swept by the 88-win Detroit Tigers, prompting an offseason filled with questions.

"I want to thank our passionate fans for their support this season," Steinbrenner wrote. "We fell short of our singular and constant goal, which is a World Series Championship. However, I am proud of the accomplishments of this year's team. We earned the best record in the American League and were one of the four teams to advance to the League Championship Series, despite having to overcome and fight through a series of long-term injuries to a number of our key players.

"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. Great teams-and organizations-use disappointment as a motivation for future improvements and success. In the days, weeks and months ahead, we plan to do what's necessary to return this franchise to the World Series.

"Nothing has changed. Nothing will change. My family-and our organization-has a long-standing commitment to provide all of our fans a championship-caliber team year after year.

"We may have fallen short yesterday but we never feel sorry for ourselves and never make excuses. We already are beginning the process to find a way to win our 28th World Championship.

"I want to congratulate Mike Ilitch, Dave Dombrowski, Jim Leyland, and the Detroit Tigers. They certainly proved worthy of representing the American League in the World Series, and are well deserving of this honor."

---San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey and Tampa Bay Rays closer Fernando Rodney were announced as the 2012 Comeback Players of the Year, Major League Baseball announced Friday.

Posey took the NL batting title with a .336 average and collected a career-high 24 homers and 103 RBI, while mostly playing the demanding position of catcher.

The righty played just 45 games in 2011 before being breaking his ankle in a collision at home plate.

This award could be the first of many accolades for Posey, who is competing with Milwaukee's Ryan Braun for the NL Most Valuable Player Award.

Rodney was second in the league with 48 saves and posted a 0.60 ERA in a career-high 76 appearances. His ERA is the lowest by a pitcher with 50 innings in the sport's history.

Rodney lost his closer's job with the Los Angeles Angels and appeared in just 39 games. He signed with the Rays in the winter.

---Toronto Blue Jays manager John Farrell appears closer to becoming the next Red Sox manager, assuming the sides can agree on compensation, according to a Boston Herald report.

Part of the decision is said to come down to how much the Red Sox are willing to trade for the rights to allow Farrell to join their organization. An executive from a NL team told the Herald this week that Blue Jays president Paul Beeston wants at least one "decent player" in return, meaning someone who can be part of the 25-man roster.

This promises not to resemble the situation last year with former general manager Theo Epstein, when neither team was motivated to resolve the compensation issue, or the White Sox, who were more than willing to let Ozzie Guillen bolt for the Marlins.

A situation would have to be resolved quickly.

The Red Sox have interviewed four managerial candidates this past week: Dodgers third base coach Tim Wallach, Yankees bench coach Tony Pena, Padres special assistant Brad Ausmus and Orioles third base coach DeMarlo Hale.

The Herald reported that Farrell is their top choice. He has spent four years in Boston as pitching coach under Terry Francona, and shares good relationships with both GM Ben Cherington and assistant GM Mike Hazen.

---The Detroit Tigers' four-game sweep of the New York Yankees in the American League Division Series scored strong ratings for TBS, earning a 4.5 average overnight Nielsen rating.

That was up 36 percent from the St. Louis Cardinals' victory over the Milwaukee Brewers in six games in the National League Division Series on the network in 2011, according to The Sports Business Daily.

The Tigers-Yankees series featured two day games and two night games. The Tigers' series-clinching victory on Thursday earned a 4.1 overnight, according to The Daily.

The returns haven't been as strong for the St. Louis Cardinals' series against the San Francisco Giants in the NL. Thursday's 8-1 victory by the Cardinals was a blowout that also had competition from "Thursday Night Football," and drew only a 4.2 overnight Nielsen rating, down 30 percent from the comparable game last year.
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