Baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent said yesterday he has asked one of baseball's attorneys to speak with attorneys for George Steinbrenner about a letter in which Steinbrenner reportedly asked the New York Yankees limited partners to allow him to "remain akin to general partner" for "all financial, tax and other business purposes."

Under the agreement that resulted in Steinbrenner's banishment from day-to-day control over the Yankees, Steinbrenner will be allowed to participate only in "extraordinary financial or business affairs" of the club, and he will need written permission from Vincent to do that.

"It seems to me it {the letter} didn't track the agreement," said Vincent, who asked former federal judge Harold Tyler to look into the matter. Tyler assisted Vincent when the commissioner conducted a hearing on Steinbrenner's relationship with self-described gambler Howard Spira. Tyler also played a role in framing the agreement and restrictions concerning Steinbrenner, who was found to have not acted in the best interests of baseball when he paid Spira $40,000 in exchange for information he hoped to use against former Yankees outfielder Dave Winfield.

"Maybe it was just sloppy legal work," Vincent said with regard to the letter, uncovered by the New York Daily News. "I don't think it's a big issue. It's obvious the agreement covers that point. It's a matter of getting the language {in the letter} to track the agreement."

Some of the Yankees limited partners were concerned about what Steinbrenner meant by "other business purposes," the Daily News reported.

Cleveland steel industry executive Michael Friedman, who along with a partner owns about 6 percent of the Yankees, said yesterday he was not troubled by Steinbrenner's request. "My understanding of the ruling by Commissioner Vincent is that he's allowed to stay general partner for business purposes, so I don't think there's any problem with that," Friedman said.

Steinbrenner's tax lawyer, Daniel McCarthy, told the Associated Press the letter was an attempt to smooth the transition when Steinbrenner moves from general to limited partner -- not an attempt to circumvent the restrictions.

"There was no effort to change the commissioner's understanding with Mr. Steinbrenner, but rather a need for continued compliance with the tax regulations," McCarthy said.

Stephen Kaufman, another attorney for Steinbrenner, said characterizing the letter as an attempt to defy Vincent is "totally false and unfounded, and heaps unwarranted and unfair criticism on Mr. Steinbrenner."