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The Boss: Cashman 'on a big hook' for this season

NEW YORK -- Despite constant speculation about manager Joe Torre's job, New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner says someone else also needs to deliver as the team looks to reverse its floundering start: general manager Brian Cashman.

"He's on a big hook," a spirited Steinbrenner told The Associated Press in a rare interview from this Tampa office. "He wanted sole authority. He got it. Now he's got to deliver."

Steinbrenner's comments came with the Yankees' record at 21-24, sitting 9½ games behind the American League East-leading Boston Red Sox. The Boss said he was encouraged by the Yankees' performance this week in taking two out of three games from Boston -- and he felt the return of Roger Clemens could provide another boost.

"We hope we have turned it around," Steinbrenner said emphatically. The 44-year-old Clemens brings "a winning attitude," he continued. "I think Roger is capable of sparking the team. He is a veteran and will bring stability. I am happy he is coming back. I love him."

Steinbrenner, 76, felt "The Rocket" needed at least one more minor-league start to sharpen his stuff, and Yankees officials said Thursday that the right-hander will likely pitch Monday in a Triple-A game.

That would put the seven-time Cy Young Award winner on track to return to the majors in Fenway Park next weekend against his old team.