Don Zimmer expects Joe Girardi to give Yankees his answer soon

Yankees manager Joe Girardi, right, talks with Tampa

Yankees manager Joe Girardi, right, talks with Tampa Bay Rays coach Don Zimmer prior to their spring training game in Port Charlotte, Fla. (March 22, 2009) Photo Credit: AP

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - If Don Zimmer knows which way Joe Girardi is leaning, he's not saying.

Zimmer was Girardi's first manager when he came up with the Cubs in 1989, and the two remain friends and in contact.

Without betraying any confidences, the 82-year-old Zimmer, Joe Torre's bench coach from 1996-2003 and still a senior adviser with the Rays, said he expects a decision soon.

"Other clubs are in a hurry," Zimmer said as he watched batting practice Monday before Game 3 of the ALDS between the Rays and Red Sox at Tropicana Field. "He's got to make a decision and I would say he'll make a decision in the next couple of days."

The Yankees presented Girardi an offer Friday -- believed to be for three years and in the neighborhood of $13 million to $15 million with incentives -- that would make him among the highest-paid managers in the game.

But the Cubs, whom Girardi, a native of Peoria, Ill., grew up rooting for, are interested, with owner Tom Ricketts trying to win back an increasingly angry fan base.

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The talent-rich Nationals also are very much interested and have plenty of money to spend.

The Yankees to this point have not been inclined to let Girardi, whose three-year, $9-million contract officially expires at the end of the month, talk to another club.

"What a spot he's in," Zimmer said of Girardi being in demand. "He's in a pretty good spot. Well deserved. A very brilliant guy, a smart man. And a good manager."

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