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Cash interested in pitching, not Pujols

It was just about a no-shot anyway, but Yankees fans can stop dreaming about Albert Pujols wearing pinstripes.

General manager Brian Cashman all but said as much in a Tuesday conference call with reporters, then said it outright Friday on "The Dan Patrick Show.''

"Despite him being fantastic, it's not an efficient way to allocate our resources," Cashman said of the free-agent first baseman, according to the show's Web page.

Of course, that wasn't really news. The Yankees' most pressing need isn't a big bat. They have a $180-million player at first base named Mark Teixeira who has a full no-trade clause he has said he won't be waiving.

Cashman has stressed that "pitching, pitching, pitching" is his offseason priority. That's why Prince Fielder also can be crossed off fans' wish lists.

"Offense is not a problem on this club," Cashman said earlier this week. "I don't think we're offensively challenged at all. Our main focus is going to be to reinforce our pitching . . . It doesn't mean I'm not open-minded to anything else that might benefit the club, but I feel our offense is very, very strong."

On the radio program, Cashman was asked about Rangers lefthander C.J. Wilson, considered the top pitcher on the market.

"I don't think it's a stretch to tell anyone he's the most attractive candidate," Cashman said.

But when reached later Friday in his office, Cashman said, "Your list can be rearranged based on cost."

He wasn't specifically talking about Wilson, but the prevailing thought in the industry is that the pitcher will be looking for ace-like money. If he can get $15 million to $20 million a season, it likely won't be from the Yankees, whose scouts see Wilson more as a No. 3 starter.

Securing CC Sabathia on Monday night through a contract extension allowed the Yankees to avoid being in a "vulnerable" state -- to use Cashman's word -- that would force them to overpay for another free-agent pitcher.

Wilson's agent, Bob Garber -- who also represents righthander Roy Oswalt, another free agent the Yankees might pursue -- recently was quoted as saying both pitchers are fond of New York. The agent for lefthander Mark Buehrle, another free agent who could appeal to the Yankees, was quoted as saying his client wouldn't rule out joining them.

None of which means much to Cashman, who knows that at this time of year, agents are always going to show love for the franchise with the sport's highest payroll. It is not in their interests, or their clients' interests, to say anything other than that.

"Every winter," Cashman said, laughing, "they all want to play in New York."

Extra basesThe Yankees are partnering with New York Cares for a winter coat drive Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square (1501 Broadway between 43rd and 44th). The first 1,250 people to donate gently used coats will receive a pair of tickets to the Army-Rutgers game at the Stadium on Nov. 12.

New York Sports