The Tampa Bay Devil Rays became the second team this week to ask the New York Yankees for permission to speak to bench coach Joe Girardi for their managerial opening. Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman said he granted permission after first speaking to owner George Steinbrenner.

The Florida Marlins asked for permission to speak to Girardi earlier in the week, and on Thursday, after the Yankees flew back from Anaheim, Girardi met with Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria for about 90 minutes at the latter's Manhattan office. The Marlins have asked Girardi for a second interview.

"It went great," Girardi said about his first Marlins interview. "The fact I'm having another one is a good sign."

Girardi, 40, who has never managed at any level, said he has not heard anything from the Baltimore Orioles, who have yet to make a decision on whether to bring back interim manager Sam Perlozzo for 2006.

This Just In . . .

Cashman said he spoke to Steinbrenner following Friday night's 11-7 loss in Game 3, and the message from the Boss was predictable.

"Obviously," Cashman said, "like the rest of us, he was disappointed, and he's hoping for a better outcome in Game 4."

Jenks Is Big Time

Lost in Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez's sterling performance Friday night in the Chicago White Sox' Game 3 victory over Boston was another dominating outing by young closer Bobby Jenks.

Three months ago Jenks was pitching for Chicago's Class AA team in Birmingham. Friday night he recorded his second save in the American League Division Series by getting a groundout, strikeout and groundout in the ninth inning.

"He's a man-child," White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper said of the 25-year-old Jenks. "He's a man-child that got a man's save [pitching two innings] a couple of days ago."

Jenks laughed when asked what he was thinking as he came out of the bullpen to pitch the ninth inning.

"I thought, 'Leave El Duque in,' " he said.

Sheinin reported from New York, Carpenter from Boston.