Cashman doesn't expect job to be affected

New York Yankees' general manager Brian Cashman talking

New York Yankees' general manager Brian Cashman talking to the media on the first day of spring training. (Feb. 19, 2012) (Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams, Jr.)

TAMPA, Fla. -- Brian Cashman characterized recent weeks, as elements of his personal life played out in very public ways, as "difficult."

But Sunday, in his first news conference since he was involved in a sting operation that put an alleged stalker behind bars, the Yankees' general manager didn't offer much more on the situation.

When asked if he anticipates that his job will be affected at all, he said no. "I have a professional and a personal life, and I'm going to keep my professional life," Cashman said after a follow-up question. "I'm going to continue to do my job to the best of my abilities. And that's that. As I always have."

Cashman helped the police earlier this month, resulting in the arrest of Louise Neathway, who was charged with harassment and extortion. Neathway, who is being held at Rikers Island, has denied the charges through her attorneys.

The organization's message from the start has been that it supports Cashman "100 percent," but even on that point, Cashman didn't expand.

"I'm not going to speak for anybody else," he said. "If you ask me, I'm going to do my job to the best of my abilities as I always have . . . I can just tell you it's not going to affect my job and I'm going to do my job to the best of my abilities as I always have, but out of respect for others, whether they're in the higher authority or any other capacity, I don't want to speak for anybody else."

Questions about his personal life took up only a few minutes of his nearly 40-minute meeting with reporters Sunday. A big chunk of it was spent discussing two of the biggest members of his pitching staff, CC Sabathia and Michael Pineda.

The 6-7, 280-pound Pineda repeatedly has been referred to as the possible No. 2 starter behind the 6-7, 290-pound Sabathia, but Cashman nixed that idea.

"I've seen it written that he slots right behind CC in the rotation. As far as I'm concerned, that's not the case," Cashman said. "He has a young, high-end arm that I look forward to seeing growing into a consistent winner. But I think expecting stuff like that out of the gate and having him gravitate to the front of our rotation so early, I know we don't have those illusions. We think we have some other guys who are more worthy of pitching the front end."

Pineda, 23, went 8-6 with a 3.03 ERA in the season's first half -- making the All-Star Game as a rookie -- before falling off to 1-4, 5.12 in the second half. Cashman said the reason was simple, enunciating what scouts have said: Pineda is a two-pitch pitcher -- fastball, curveball -- with a changeup Cashman called "below average."

"I don't think there's a No. 1 or 2 starter in the big leagues with two pitches," Cashman said -- perhaps with the image in his mind of recently traded A.J. Burnett trying to be just that. "You can maybe pitch like that for extended periods of time, but to be a consistent No. 1 or 2 starter in the big leagues, you need more than two pitches. We're dreaming on the guy, but there's work to be done still. It's going to take time."

Regarding what appears to be a pitching surplus -- six starters competing for five spots -- Cashman reiterated what he said Saturday.

"Unfortunately, I've been around long enough to realize what appears to be a surplus can turn into a deficit rather quickly," he said, again mentioning the 2011 Red Sox, who entered spring training with what appeared to be excess pitching, only to see it all collapse. "We did what we did this winter for a reason, because we felt we needed more. Whether those decisions will bear out, it's a sport where you have to play it out, because baseball's always the great unknown."

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