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MANTO TO WEAR SKIPPER'S HAT FOR THE FIRST TIME NEXT SEASON

Jeff Manto will take his first shot at managing next season.

The Buffalo Bisons' modern-era home run leader, who had his uniform No. 30 retired in August at Dunn Tire Park, will be the skipper for the Class A Lakewood (N.J.) Blue Claws of the South Atlantic League in 2002.

The announcement was made this week by the parent Philadelphia Phillies. Manto was Lakewood's hitting coach last season, his first since retiring at the end of the 2000 campaign. Lakewood is 50 minutes from Manto's home in suburban Philadelphia.

Manto, 37, hit 79 home runs for the Bisons from 1997 to 2000, tops among players since the franchise returned to Triple-A in 1985 and the fifth-highest total in Buffalo's 117-year baseball history.

The Phillies also have announced that Marc Bombard will return for his sixth season as manager of Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The Red Barons have eliminated the Bisons in the International League semifinals the last two seasons. Bombard is the active victory leader among minor-league managers with 1,356. He went 87-57 as the Bisons' manager in 1992 while the team was part of the Pittsburgh chain.

No. 73 ready for sale

ST. LOUIS -- The sports agent brokering the sale of Barry Bonds' 73rd home run ball believes it might fetch considerably less than the $3 million that Mark McGwire's 70th homer sold for just three years ago.

Michael Barnes said the Bonds baseball either could be sold privately or auctioned and estimated that it will sell for $1 million to $2 million -- appreciably lower than the $3,005,000 comic book creator Todd McFarlane paid for McGwire's No. 70 in 1998.

"I think the market is open to the fact that a baseball like this could bring a large sum -- seven figures even," Barnes said of the ball Bonds hit for No. 73 on Oct. 7 at San Francisco's Pacific Bell Park. "How high is anybody's guess. It's so difficult to tell."

When it comes to marketing history, Barnes said there are unknowns. The chief one: the interest level in the Bonds ball just three years after McGwire shattered the single-season home run record that previously had stood for 37 years.

"It's such an interesting time to figure it all out," the agent said. "If (McGwire's) No. 70 brought this, what's this ball worth? It's such a unique situation, with (Bonds breaking) a record that's three years old rather than 37."

Cedeno in middle of dispute

DETROIT -- The Major League Baseball Players Association is expected to file a grievance against the Detroit Tigers for benching outfielder Roger Cedeno for the season's final 19 games, agent Peter Greenberg said Wednesday.

Cedeno missed out on $200,000 in bonuses based on plate appearances because of the benching, which followed a Sept. 15 argument with manager Phil Garner.

Cedeno didn't play at all after the argument, falling to second in the American League in stolen bases and missing out on a $50,000 bonus by three plate appearances.

On the final day of the season, Cedeno said of the Tigers, "They treated me bad. If that's the way they treat players, no one will want to play here."

Mayne agrees to two-year contract

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Catcher Brent Mayne has agreed to a two-year contract with the Kansas City Royals.

The deal also includes a team option for the 2004 season.

Mayne rejoined the Royals last June in a trade with the Colorado Rockies. He was a first-round draft pick by the Royals in 1989 and played for the team from 1990-95 before being traded to the New York Mets.

Mayne, 33, finished the season batting .285 with two home runs and 20 RBIs.

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