New York Yankees principal owner George Steinbrenner claimed statements he made earlier in the week about his team were taken out of context.

While speaking in upstate New York, Steinbrenner was quoted as saying left fielder Dave Winfield "isn't a winner"; that he would no longer allow his board of advisors to plot team policy; and that letting Reggie Jackson go after the 1981 season was a mistake.

In a statement released by the Yankees, Steinbrenner clarified his feelings.

"What I said was that Dave Winfield was probably the finest athlete in the league last season and that he had great statistics when you look at his hits, home runs and RBI totals for 1982," Steinbrenner said. "But that all those statistics don't mean too much unless you win, unless you can show the championship ring on your finger."

Steinbrenner blamed his latest criticisms of Winfield on the sportswriter who quoted him earlier in the week.

"I didn't criticize Dave," Steinbrenner said. "He is a supreme athlete. He gave us a great effort last year. It is a shame that a young writer would take my statements out of context just to get a sensational story."

In his statement, Steinbrenner repeated that letting go of Jackson was a mistake, but denied blaming his advisers. He also emphasized that the Yankees will no longer be ruled by committee and that he expects his relationship with Manager Billy Martin to go smoother in Martin's third tenure.