Yankees GM Cashman agrees to 3-year contract



Brian Cashman is staying on as general manager of the New York Yankees, agreeing yesterday to a three-year contract that runs through 2011. The Yankees missed the playoffs this season for the first time since 1993. Cashman took over as GM in 1997, and his current deal was set to expire at the end of October.

Comeback awards:: Pitchers Cliff Lee of the Indians and Brad Lidge of the Phillies were honored, respectively, as the American League and National League Comeback Players of the Year. Lee, a left-hander, went 22-3 with an AL-leading 2.54 ERA. The previous season, he was 5-8 with a 6.29 ERA and demoted to the minor leagues. Lidge, a right-hander, was 41-for-41 on save opportunities as Philadelphia's closer. In 2007, he converted just 19 of 27 for Houston.


Phillies:: Outfielder Pat Burrell left the team's workout because of discomfort in his lower back. Philadelphia and Milwaukee play Game 1 of their playoff series this afternoon. Burrell will be checked before the game.

Cubs:: Chicago picked up the option on manager Lou Piniella's contract for 2010, a day before the NL Central champion Cubs open the playoffs against the Dodgers. Piniella, 65, guided the Cubs to a 97-64 record.

Blue Jays:: Toronto agreed to two-year contract extensions with pitching coach Brad Arnsberg, bench coach Brian Butterfield, third base coach Nick Leyva, first base coach Dwayne Murphy, hitting coach Gene Tenace and bullpen coach Bruce Walton, leaving manager Cito Gaston's staff intact.

Indians:: Longtime bullpen coach Luis Isaac was fired by manager Eric Wedge, who said "it was tough" to dismiss Isaac, 62, who had been with the club for 44 years.

Mets:: Pitcher John Maine, a former Oriole, had surgery to remove a lesion from the back of his right shoulder socket. He will start rehabilitation immediately and is expected to recover in time for spring training.

No. 6 Penn State tunes out buzz


There's a different vibe around unbeaten Penn State this week. The talk about off-field troubles has disappeared. Coach Joe Paterno's right leg is still sore, but he has proved it won't keep him from pacing the sideline. The "Spread HD" offense is humming along so well, fans are getting used to scores in the 30s and 40s. No, this week, the blue-and-white faithful are talking up No. 6 Penn State's chances in the Big Ten and, possibly, in the national title race. "I just say, 'Hey, we got Purdue this week,' " Paterno said about his message to his players. Paterno knows the host Boilermakers (2-2) will have designs Saturday on derailing the Nittany Lions (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten).


Oklahoma:: Injured defensive linemen Demarcus Granger (left foot) and Frank Alexander (right arm) could return to practice next week for the No. 1 Sooners and be ready to play against No. 5 Texas.

Et cetera:: Tennessee's Nick Stephens is likely to see playing time at quarterback against Northern Illinois this week even if he doesn't beat out Jonathan Crompton for the starting job, offensive coordinator Dave Clawson said. ... Florida linebacker Dustin Doe will have surgery today to repair a double hernia and miss at least two games. ... California running back Jahvid Best will miss at least one game with a dislocated left elbow but won't require surgery.

Performers announced for Phelps celebration


Organizers of a celebration honoring swimmer Michael Phelps say the Naval Academy Concert Band, the Morgan State University Choir and local bands will perform at the event this weekend. The celebration is planned for Saturday at Fort McHenry in Baltimore. Organizers announced that the local bands include big-band funk orchestra Chopteeth, a cappella group Reverb and The Players Band, a ska group formed in Baltimore. Access Hollywood's Billy Bush will host the event. Phelps, who won a record eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics, will be honored with a parade in Towson before the evening program. The events will also pay tribute to two other Maryland swimmers: Olympian Katie Hoff and Paralympic champion Jessica Long.

WNBA: : Deanna Nolan scored 21 points to help the Detroit Shock reach the WNBA Finals for a third straight season with a 75-73 win late Monday over the New York Liberty in Ypsilanti, Mich. The Shock won the best-of-three Eastern Conference finals and advanced to play the San Antonio Silver Stars for the championship.


NHL:: Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Sergei Gonchar will have arthroscopic surgery on his dislocated left shoulder and miss four to six months.

Golf:: The PGA European Tour will require its members to play in at least 12 events next year, increasing the minimum by one event as more players contemplate whether to join for the $10 million Race to Dubai. Phil Mickelson is among those who might join in 2009.