Rumblings in New York and throughout the major leagues keep suggesting that Joe Torre's days as manager of the New York Yankees are numbered.


His potential replacement: Joe Girardi.


Girardi, of course, was the National League's manager of the year with Florida last season but he was fired because of his differences with the Marlins‚ ownership. He's spent the first part of this season as a member of the Yankees' broadcast crew.


"It's uncomfortable at times here (in New York)," Girardi said, "because of the respect I have for Joe and the job I know Joe does. But when you've managed before and you've been in that position, rumours are going to fly. It comes with the territory.


Girardi added: "I enjoy what I'm doing in the broadcast booth but I do want to manage again.

He obviously would not turn down the Yankees' job, despite the tumult that traditionally accompanies it.

• Taking a series from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and sweeping the Baltimore Orioles in the past week gave Blue Jays manager John Gibbons a stay of execution.

Had the Rays beaten the Jays in two of their three games in Toronto last weekend, Gibbons would have been fired, according to two sources in the club's front office.

A. J. Burnett pitched a complete game for the Jays Wednesday night, striking out 10 batters and allowing only one run in Toronto's 2-1 win over the Orioles. Burnett also whiffed 10 and allowed one run last Friday night against Tampa Bay.

Jake Peavy of the San Diego Padres is the only other pitcher in the major leagues with 10 strikeouts in each of back-to-back starts this season. Peavy's streak ended at four, when he struck out only five batters Wednesday night against the Cincinnati Reds.

Jesse Litsch, 20, turned in a terrific debut in the Jays' victory over the Orioles the other night, but Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi is only cautiously optimistic.

It's way too early to start building statues for Jesse, Ricciardi said. I will say this, though. He has four pitches he can throw for strikes, and that's certainly in his favour.

• The Yanks, incidentally, are trying to trade for a backup catcher and have made an offer to the Los Angeles Angels for Jose Molina.

• In this 2007 season of uncertainty and turmoil for the St. Louis Cardinals, keep in mind that manager Tony La Russa is in the final season of his contract.

• The New York Mets are trying to trade outfielder Lastings Milledge.

Not that there's a lineup for his services. Clubs are not impressed with Milledge's off-field behaviour. His reputation was tarnished this week after releasing a hip-hop tune in which he demeans women and curses repeatedly.

• Boston Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek swears Daisuke Matsuzaka's so-called gyroball really exists and is not a myth.

"To understand it," Varitek said, "I guess you‚d have to be a Japanese scientist."

Varitek, incidentally, said Matsuzaka's English is improving.

"He seems to understand us now," Varitek said, "although I still haven‚t heard him speak any English."

• The Atlanta Braves are getting a new owner for at least the next 4½ years.

MLB owners voted unanimously Wednesday to approve the sale of the Braves by Time Warner to Liberty Media, and as part of the deal Liberty committed to own the franchise through 2011.

Barry Bonds, of course, is the least friendly player in baseball, according to a Sports Illustrated poll of 464 players.

Right behind Bonds is the slugger's old adversary in San Francisco, Jeff Kent, followed by A.J. Pierzynski, Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling.