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Hank still hasn't learned to keep his mouth shut:

"There is one very important point here," Steinbrenner told The Post during an exclusive half-hour session. "The most important thing to remember is this: If you didn't get it from me or my brother [Hal], it doesn't mean shit. I don't care about some piss-ant employee. If you don't get it from me or Hal, it's meaningless. I have a lot of things [in Tampa] and Hal is in New York, which is good."

Asked if he has taken a step back, Steinbrenner emphatically said, "No."

Since The Boss turned over the day-to-day operations to his sons, Hank has one regret.

"I should have pushed harder for the [Johan] Santana deal," said Hank, who was talked out of signing Santana by Hal and GM Brian Cashman because they believed the Yankees' talent (Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy and Melky Cabrera) and the money (Santana signed a six-year, $137.5 million extension with the Mets) was too costly.

"My dad wanted to do that," Hank said. "But that doesn't mean we would have won if we got into the playoffs, because [Chien-Ming] Wang was hurt."

"We are going to look at everything, and we are interested in everything, pitchers and position players. Whatever fits for us, whatever we need the most. To say we aren't interested in somebody would be ridiculous. Teixeira is a quality player."

One area Steinbrenner has drifted away from is dealing with the media. Too many people had his cell-phone number, so he changed it. Media criticism took its toll, and there have been whispers that others in the organization nudged him toward not being so outgoing.

"I said that if you treat me fair and honest, I would treat you fair and honest," Steinbrenner said. "Those days are over. I told Hal, if you live by the press, you die by the press. I didn't live by my own words."

Where to begin?

1. Great way to engender loyalty among employees by calling one a 'piss-ant'. (Didn't that term leave the lexicon sometime in the '50s?)

2. Why should Yankee fans have any patience when the owner doesn't? He said he should've pushed harder for Santana. A) he's deflecting blame onto Brian Cashman (another great move for a boss), and B) no one thought Hughes would be better than Santana this year - does he even realize that Hughes, Kennedy and Melky are all under 25 while Santana is on the tail-end of his prime? (I believe Hughes will be better than Santana within a few years, while Kennedy's stuff is comparable to James Shields and Melky is a good 4th OFer. Their combined salary was $17.5 million less than Santana's. Sabathia is now a free agent and can be had for about the same money as Santana, minus the top prospects.)

3. Is that comment on Teixeira considered tampering? Probably, because he's still under contract until November. And great to tip your hand before negotiations (Scott Boras is his agent no less).

4. 'Those days are over... I didn't live by my own words'? Oh god. Does that mean we haven't even even seen the real Hank yet? Could he actually be more outspoken?

For the love of god Hank, SHUT UP!

(H/T to BBTF)


- Great game for sandwich round pick Jeremy Bleich in Hawaii: 6 ip, 4 h, 0 r, 0 bb, 6 k, 76 pitches, 54 strikes, 8 groundouts, 4 flyouts. He'd been disappointing in two previous starts. What he seems to be is a potential Andy Pettitte or left-handed Ian Kennedy.


- No matter who loves or hates the Yankees, they're good for baseball.