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Hank Steinbrenner upbeat about 2009

02/05/2009 7:00 PM ET
By Associated Press
TAMPA, Fla. -- Hank Steinbrenner is not guaranteeing that his New York Yankees will win the 2009 World Series. Still, the team co-chairman is optimistic heading into the start of spring training next week.

"Much more so than last year," Steinbrenner said on Thursday. "I feel real confident going into this season."

New York finished third last year, ending its stretch of 13 straight postseason trips. During the offseason, the Yankees committed $423.5 million to add pitchers CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, and first baseman Mark Teixeira.

Yankees captain Derek Jeter said Wednesday that he is "as excited about this season as any season in a long time."

"The entire team is fired up with what we've done," Steinbrenner said.

New York has a formidable task ahead in the tough AL East, which includes American League champion Tampa Bay and Boston.

"The American League East is by far the best division in baseball," Steinbrenner said. "The players can't be thinking, `Look how good we are on paper.' They've got to earn it in our division."

The Yankees have been a focal point off the field this week after the release of former manager Joe Torre's book "The Yankee Years."

"I haven't read it yet," Steinbrenner said. "I'll read it."

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