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Steinbrenner: Yankees still need righty bat

The Yankee owner might believe that he has a "championship caliber" team, but Hal Steinbrenner still wants to find a right-handed bat to give the team more pop against lefties.

Mike Stobe

Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner says the team is still looking from some right-handed hitting, but he believes it is a "championship caliber" club, according to Andy McCullough of the Newark Star-Ledger.

The Yankees are heavily left-handed at the moment, especially in the outfield, where they currently have three lefties in Curtis Granderson, Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki slated to start. They had shown some interest in Scott Hairston before he signed with the Cubs and they have added righty hitters Juan Rivera and Matt Diaz on minor league deals this off-season.

However, the team is still seeking more reliable help at the major league level. With few right-handed hitting free agents still on the market, the Yankees could be forced to explore trades or to search the waiver wire as teams make their final 40-man roster decisions.

Related: Benefits of $189 MM May Be More Limited Than Yanks Think

Steinbrenner’s comment about fielding a "championship caliber" club this season, comes after an off-season that saw the Yankees make few moves to upgrade their aging roster. The team won 95 games last year, the most in the American League, but they have done little to replace key players after losing Russell Martin, Raul Ibanez, Eric Chavez, Rafael Soriano and Nick Swisher to free agency and Alex Rodriguez to injury.

One reason for the lack of headline-making deals may be the Steinbrenner’s desire to drop payroll under the $189M luxury tax threshold by 2014. Under the new CBA, the Yankees face paying the league 50% of payroll unless they can drop below the $189M threshold and reset their tax rate.