New York Yankees Manager Billy Martin, despite a directive from team owner George Steinbrenner, decided to give the second-place Yankees the day off yesterday.

According to the New York Times, Steinbrenner had insisted on a workout at Yankee Stadium and vowed that anyone who failed to show would be fined $500. However, Steinbrenner refused to criticize Martin's decision to cancel the practice.

"He's the manager," Steinbrenner said. "It's up to him. I'm not mad. But he also said he would overtake Toronto, and I say fine. When a vice president of a corporation says he can meet his quota without having his men work overtime, then doesn't meet his quota, he's not going to be vice president for long."

The Yankees trail the American League East Division-leading Blue Jays by seven games.

Martin made his decision because the team was not scheduled to arrive back in New York until early in the morning. Originally, Martin had slated a workout for five part-time players, but rescinded the order because of the death of Pete Sheehy, the team's long-time clubhouse attendant.

"I'm not doing it to defy George," Martin said. "George likes to work out for disciplinary reasons, and I usually go along with it. But because of the heat we had in Boston and the fact we're getting in so late, I'm not gonna do it." . . .

Stan Wasiak became the all-time winningest minor league baseball manager when his Vero Beach Dodgers beat visiting West Palm Beach, 11-2. The Florida State League victory gave Wasiak, 65, a career total of 2,497 wins, topping the old mark set by Bob Coleman. Wasiak has managed a minor-league record 36 straight seasons.