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Closing time in the clubhouse

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Teams usually open their clubhouses to the media for a day or two after the season is over. If a team has done well, there are smiles everywhere as players celebrate their success. Sometimes you can still smell the champagne in the air.

At Yankee Stadium today, it’s like a wake.

The Stadium is being dismantled, piece by piece. The nameplates have been stripped off the lockers, the historic photos that used to line the hallways have been taken away. Even the team logos that decorated assorted spaces have been pulled down, leaving ghostly outlines in their place.

Joe Girardi held a postmortem press conference at 2 p.m., sitting at a table in a room uncomfortably cold because nobody could figure out how to turn the air conditioning off.

The Yankees, he said, plan to upgrade their rotation with experienced pitchers. He thinks Robinson Cano will be fine. He believes Andy Pettitte will return but didn’t sound hopeful about Mike Mussina. He has faith that Jorge Posada will be able to catch 120 games in 2009. He starts his throwing program Dec. 1.

Girardi said he knows his players better and doesn’t think he needs to change his coaching staff. Unlike the Mets, the Yankees have known for a while that they weren’t making the playoffs, so there is only limited chagrin at this point.

Here, you can listen yourself:

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In terms of actual news, Mariano Rivera has opted for surgery. Girardi said he didn’t have details, but the procedure is expected to be Oct. 6 and will be performed by Dr. David Altchek at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan.

Hideki Matsui is at the Stadium today and said his knee surgery went well. He expects he will be ready for spring training.

Phil Hughes is off to Arizona, Chien-Ming Wang will keep throwing in Tampa.

The only players here so far today are Jose Molina, Francisco Cervelli, Humberto Sanchez and Juan Miranda.

We’re here until 4 p.m. I’ll check in later with any other news.