Torre speaks with Williams about offer
Manager's phone call gives outfielder something to think about
TAMPA, Fla. -- Manager Joe Torre has talked with Bernie Williams, and he's offering the longtime Yankees outfielder some food for thought.
With the team's full-squad report date approaching on Sunday, Torre told Williams that he wants to see him in the outfield at Legends Field, dressed in uniform and wearing his familiar No. 51.
"If you want to continue to play, you can't do it if you stay up there," Torre said he told Williams. "We need to see you."
Williams has not yet decided whether to accept the Yankees' standing non-roster invitation, but Torre said, "He's digesting. We're going to take another day or so."
Torre received a telephone call from Williams on Wednesday afternoon after leaving the Yankees' complex.
He recognized that Williams -- who has played all 16 of his Major League seasons for the Yankees -- has never had to fight for a spot on the team's 25-man roster. But Torre told Williams that if he still wants to play, he should accept the non-roster invitation.
"I sense it's not a question of whether he wants to play or not," Torre said.
Torre said he would offer Williams "no promises," however, despite the fact that the outfielder has been one of the manager's favorites since taking the post in 1996.
"The loyalty to one is only good when you have the loyalty to 25," Torre said, meaning the full roster.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has said that he has no plans of rescinding the team's invitation to Williams.
Due to plans to carry a 12-man pitching staff and a first-base platoon, the Yankees have said there was no roster space for Williams, who batted .281 with 12 home runs and 61 RBIs in 131 games last season.
"At this stage, it's the best we can do," Cashman said. "We do it out of respect for him for not wanting to play anywhere else, but still not wanting to retire and only wanting to be a Yankee.
"This was the only vehicle for that to happen. It wasn't extended in a way to disrespect him, it was extended in a way to assist him in his efforts given the change in the dynamic of this roster."
Williams has made public comments in the media that indicated he would not accept the invitation, but Cashman said he has not been officially informed of that decision by Williams or his representatives.
Catcher Jorge Posada said he hoped Williams makes the "right" decision regarding the invitation.
"It's not what he wants, obviously," Posada said. "It's a tough decision for him. Hopefully he makes the right one. We would like to see him here."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.