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Pena, among others, makes bid for Yankees' managerial position

NEW YORK — Tony Pena thinks he can manage the New York Yankees to a championship next season.

So much for a grace period.

"With the talent that we have, I think we can do it with this team next year," Pena said. "There's no question in my mind that we have the capability and we have the talent to go and do the job."

After spending two seasons as New York's first-base coach, Pena interviewed Wednesday to replace departed manager Joe Torre. Team officials spoke with Yankees broadcaster Joe Girardi on Monday and bench coach Don Mattingly on Tuesday.

New York was going to consider five or six candidates but Hank Steinbrenner, son of owner George Steinbrenner, said Wednesday the team wasn't planning any more interviews.

"We're very impressed with all three candidates," he said. "I told you it would be a tough decision. Tony, I would describe him as a motivator. A high-energy motivator. That's the way he came across."

The Yankees' baseball operations executives will meet, probably on Thursday, and come up with a recommendation to the team's top officials. That recommendation is likely to carry a lot of weight.

"I don't see any reason not to go with their decision," Hank Steinbrenner said. "It's been an in-depth process. You've got to respect the opinion of your experts."

General manager Brian Cashman declined comment through a team spokesman. Girardi, speaking at a charity dinner, refused to answer any questions about the search.

"The only thing I'm going to comment about the Yankees situation is what I said a few days ago," Girardi said. "I had a great interview. And it's an honor for whoever gets that job."

Teams aren't allowed to make major announcements during the World Series but if New York wants to make an announcement Friday, commissioner Bud Selig probably would give his permission.

Hank Steinbrenner said the team hadn't made any contact with Major League Baseball about making an announcement before the end of the Series.

"The main message that I wanted to tell them is that I'm capable to manage this ballclub and I'm capable to take this ballclub to the final line, which is winning the World Series," he said.

Pena has the most managerial experience of the candidates, having led the Kansas City Royals for over three seasons. He was voted AL Manager of the Year in 2003 after the Royals went 83-79, their first winning season since 1994.

Pena quit in 2005 after an 8-25 start that left his record with Kansas City at 198-285. He joined the Yankees later that year and learned a lot working under Torre.

"One thing about Joe, he never was up and he never was down," Pena said. "I learned to establish myself, I learned to be myself a little bit more. I learned to give more people responsibility and things like that."

MARINERS MOVES: The Seattle Mariners activated relievers Chris Reitsma and Arthur Rhodes from the 60-day disabled list on Wednesday. To make room for the veterans, Seattle sent right-hander Jorge Campillo and infielder Nick Green to Triple-A Tacoma.

NATIONALS MOVES: The Washington Nationals selected the contracts of four minor leaguers Wednesday: right-hander Garrett Mock, left-hander Justin Jones, first baseman Josh Whitesell and outfielder Roger Bernadina.