Yankees Like Phillips

Joe Torre

Here is the conclusion of our report on former Alabama baseball star Andy Phillips, now playing first base for the New York Yankees. Yesterday we had our one-on-one interview with Phillips. Today we speak with others in the Yankees organization about the former Tider.

Andy Phillips is best known as a hitter, and that is apparent in our talks with members of the New York Yankees organization discussing the former Alabama baseball star. BRIAN CASHMAN, Senior Vice President, General Manager of the New York Yankees

AP STEADHAM: Would you talk about Andy's development as a ball player with the New York Yankees?

BRIAN CASHMAN: Sure, Andy has always been a hitter from the start until now. One thing he's very good at obviously is hitting. We've had him at second and at third but he's a first baseman now and he's doing a great job for us up here. We talked this winter about Andy and how he fits. He is out of options and the easiest thing if he wasn't out of options would be to send him back down but because he's out of options, we had to consider where does he fit. I don't want to give up on that bat. So in a meeting with our coaching staff, we felt lets make Giambi the DH and Andy could play first. He has given us great defense at first this year. It took our manager a while to get comfortable but now that he is because we have had other guys in the mix such as Bernie Williams at DH sometimes has pushed Giambi to first. But I think now with the injury to Sheffield, you have Bernie in right field and Giambi at DH. It has given Andy the everyday status we wanted to give him and he's responded real well. Andy's a great person. He is solid. He is real.

DON MATTINGLY, Hitting Coach, New York Yankees

APS: Coach Mattingly, would you talk about Andy's development as a hitter:

DON MATTINGLY: To me, Andy could always hit. From the time I first saw him in the minor leagues, I think it was Triple A, I really saw that he was going to be a guy that could hit. He has really good body language at the plate. He looked like he was very confident in himself. This year he has had a chance to play and get enough at-bats for things to fall in place for him. In the past he's come up to the major league and has had an at-bat here and there. This year he has gotten a little more regular at-bats, which has allowed him to relax. His swing is coming through and now he is gaining confidence. His swing is solid and he works on the same things and tries to keep his swing short.

JOE TORRE, Manager, New York Yankees

APS: Would you talk about the development of Andy Phillips offensively and defensively as well as his value to the team?

JOE TORRE: Andy is an aggressive player. We always felt that if he had at-bats that he certainly could hit at this level. There are some injuries that we've had that have necessitated his playing at first. He was just going to be a back-up player but he is more than that now. He has certainly made himself very useful and very productive for us. He's always been aggressive on the defensive end of it too. He has no fear, this young man. And I am really pleased that he's had this opportunity.

REGGIE JACKSON, Special Advisor, New York Yankees

APS: Would you talk about Andy Phillips as a ballplayer?

REGGIE JACKSON: Ever since I have seen Andy, he could hit. He's always been a guy that could hit. We really needed to find a spot for him here in the big leagues. Finding a spot with the Yankees has taken a little longer because of the high salaried players that we have at positions. But it's always been known in the organization that he had a big league bat. It looks like first base is a pretty good spot for him.

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