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After meeting with Hank, Cashman sounds like he wants to stay

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OAKLAND, Calif. -- About an hour before the baseball draft began last Thursday, Hank Steinbrenner took Brian Cashman for a stroll outside the Yankees' offices in Tampa, Fla.

It was the first step toward keeping Cashman as the team's general manager past this year, when his contract expires.

"I really appreciate him engaging me," Cashman said yesterday by phone. "I wasn't prepared for the conversation. I was focused on the draft. I told him I need to talk to my family.

"He expressed interest, which I really appreciate. I told him I wasn't looking to run from the Yankees whatsoever. ... I feel really good about the conversation that we had."

Steinbrenner, the Yankees' co-chairperson, told The Star-Ledger last week he planned to speak to Cashman about his situation while Cashman was in Tampa, Fla., where Steinbrenner is based.

While Steinbrenner did not return calls seeking comment yesterday, last week he told the Associated Press, "I've been thinking about it for a while. ... Certainly I would like him to stay. Either he decides to stay or he doesn't."

Steinbrenner and his brother, Hal, took over as the voices of ownership last year. Hank's outspokenness has rankled Cashman at times, and some wondered whether he would be even more torn about returning this time.

"We have a good relationship," Cashman said yesterday. "Like everything else, Hal and Hank have emerged as the decision-makers in the organization. Everybody has to find their way underneath them. That's going to take time. There's a normal process."

Darrell Rasner will leave about 30 tickets for his family and his wife's family as they make the three-hour drive down to Oakland from Carson City, Nev.

"This is fun," said Rasner, scheduled to start tonight. "I'm not going to change anything. It's great to see everybody. It's really great for my wife too."

Jorge Posada will probably not catch more than two days in a row for another week. Posada, coming off a shoulder injury, is tentatively scheduled to catch tonight, Friday and Sunday. Next week he would probably catch Monday and Tuesday and have Wednesday (a day game) off.

"Then after that I think we can expand it" to more than two straight games, manager Joe Girardi said.

Girardi said he "probably wouldn't" use Posada at first base this weekend at Houston, when there will be no designated hitter.

Morgan Ensberg, who had been designated for assignment June 2, was released. Also, former big-league first baseman Ben Broussard was released at his request from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Broussard, who had a clause in his contract allowing him to ask for his release, hit .326 with seven doubles and six RBI in 12 games.

The June 29 game against the Mets at Shea Stadium will be a day game. ... Phil Hughes, on the disabled list since May 2, still has not been cleared to resume throwing. A CT scan taken last Thursday showed Hughes' fractured rib has not healed, so he probably will not be ready to return before August.

Humberto Sanchez, the right-handed prospect acquired in the Gary Sheffield trade who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, yesterday threw batting practice for the first time since his operation. Sanchez could be ready to join a minor-league affiliate before the end of the month; he will be groomed this year as a reliever. ... The Yankees have signed fourth-round pick Corban Joseph, a left-handed-hitting, high school shortstop from Tennessee.

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