NEW YORK (AP) – Besides a new pitching coach, the Yankees might have to find a setup man, too.

As the AL East champions dealt with their latest postseason disappointment, George Steinbrenner responded Thursday to Mel Stottlemyre’s departure, and Tom Gordon said he would consider leaving the Bronx for the chance to be a closer again.

Changes are expected following New York’s loss to the Angels in the division series, and they started with the resignation of Stottlemyre. The longtime pitching was critical of Steinbrenner’s treatment of manager Joe Torre on Wednesday, when he said he didn’t expect to return for an 11th season with the team.

Stottlemyre was at Yankee Stadium on Thursday but did not address the media.

The new pitching coach might be working with a replacement for Gordon, who is set to become a free agent.

Gordon has spent the last two years as the setup man for Mariano Rivera, but made it clear Thursday that he would be interested in returning to the role of closer.

“The Yankees will be first but I still would like to close,” he said.

An All-Star in 2004, Gordon has pitched well in the regular season but has been a disappointment in the playoffs. He had an 8.10 ERA during last year’s AL championship series against Boston, and allowed two runs in 2 1-3 innings in the loss to the Angels. Torre bypassed him in Game 4, when he used Rivera for two innings to finish with the Yankees facing elimination.

The Yankees also will have to make a decision on Tino Martinez. A member of their four World Series championship teams from 1996-00, he returned to the team this season and hit .241 with 17 homers in a part-time role.

Martinez said Thursday at Yankee Stadium that he would like to come back.

, but would understand if his role, too, is another one of the changes.

“That’s just the way the Yankees are,” he said. “Everyone knows when you come to the Yankees things can change from year to year. Everybody knows that.”

AP-ES-10-13-05 1807EDT


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