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Yankees haven't ruled out Manny

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Manny Ramirez still could have one chance to come home. While the Mets have all but decided they will not pursue the slugging savant from Washington Heights, in Upper Manhattan, the Yankees clearly have not ruled out a run at Ramirez.

Indications are that the Yankees are concentrating on their biggest needs first, led by a starting rotation that has only two certainties -- Chien-Ming Wang and Joba Chamberlain.

Superstar free agent pitcher CC Sabathia is their first target, but the Yankees are one team that isn't afraid to spend in the spiraling economy. They are also taking a look at star first baseman Mark Teixeira. But the Yankees are still believed to be considering Ramirez, as well. The Yankees already have a plethora of corner outfielders, including Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui and Xavier Nady, although the almost certain departure of Bobby Abreu -- whom the Yankees refused to offer salary arbitration on Monday -- means it won't be quite as crowded as it was at the end of last season.

Ramirez quickly rejected the Dodgers' first offer to him of $45 million over two years, but they haven't ruled out another try at the player who hit .396 with 17 home runs and 53 RBIs for them in 53 games after they acquired him last year. And with the Blue Jays signaling they might not spend big if pitcher A.J. Burnett goes elsewhere and one person close to the Phillies saying he doubted whether Ramirez will be a target of theirs, the Yankees may wind up as the Dodgers' biggest competition for Manny. The other obvious possibility for Ramirez would appear to be the Angels, whose owner, Arte Moreno, has said publicly that they may turn to Ramirez if they can't sign Teixeira, their top target.

Besides the obvious advantage of adding one of the greatest righthanded hitters of alltime, if the Angels sign Manny, they'd be tweaking the crosstown Dodgers. The same could be said if the Yankees sign Ramirez. Only they'd be tweaking the Red Sox.

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