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ANDERSON RETURNS TO DIAMONDBACK ROTATION

Arizona manager Bob Brenly wasted little time pulling off his first surprise of the World Series.

Brian Anderson, who lost his spot in the rotation on Aug. 24, will get the nod in the Diamondbacks' first appearance in Yankee Stadium -- Game Three next Tuesday.

Brenly told the left-hander of his decision Tuesday night after the team's workout -- which was open to the public.

"It's strange how things work," said Anderson, who has pitched well out of the bullpen in the postseason.

Brenly said right-hander Miguel Batista, the starter in Game Three in both the division series and the NL championship series, will start Game Four in New York.

Brenly toyed with the idea of having Randy Johnson start Game One instead of Curt Schilling, so the Big Unit would be able to go in Game Five in Yankee Stadium, where the ballpark dimensions are conducive to left-handed pitching.

But Brenly decided not to change the order that worked so well in the first two rounds of the playoffs, but opted to go with Anderson to put a lefty in the rotation in New York.

"The way the ballpark is configured, obviously it behooves you to have a left-hander on the mound if at all possible," Brenly said.

Yankees manager Joe Torre will have all of his starters rested for the series, but it's Mike Mussina's turn to pitch and the sense in the Yankees' clubhouse was that Mussina would start Game One on Saturday night against Arizona's Curt Schilling at Bank One Ballpark.

Mussina, 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA in his first Yankees postseason, was on line to start an American League Championship Series Game Six Wednesday night, had such a contest been necessary. Mussina's last start came last Thursday in ALCS Game Two.

Mussina's terrific performance against Oakland in Game Three of the Division Series kept his club alive.

Torre is likely to limit Orlando Hernandez to one start, in Game Four, because of El Duque's struggles. Then he must decide where to slot Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens. Pettitte is pitching better than Clemens and is healthier, so Torre might opt to go with him in Games Three and Seven.

If Torre doesn't want Clemens to test his ailing right hamstring by hitting and running, he could slot the 39-year-old in Games Three and Seven. While Game Seven would be at the BOB, without the designated hitter, Game Three is at Yankee Stadium and will not require the pitchers to hit.

Left-hander Randy Choate didn't make the Yankees' roster in the first two rounds because of his wildness during the regular season. Right-hander Mark Wohlers was so ineffective against Seattle in ALCS Game Three, however, that the Yankees could drop the veteran for the youngster Choate.

Choate pitches well against left-handers, and the Diamondbacks have an abundance of lefty hitters in Luis Gonzalez, Steve Finley, Mark Grace and Tony Womack.

Astros have long line

HOUSTON -- Former big league managers Jimy Williams and Jim Fregosi will interview for the vacant Houston Astros job.

The first of the hopefuls to succeed Larry Dierker, who resigned last week, and meet with Houston officials Tuesday were Mike Cubbage, Tony Pena and Jerry Royster. Williams and Fregosi were scheduled for sessions today, the team said.

The Houston Chronicle reported that Williams, fired in Boston in August, was considered the favorite to land the job. Williams, 58, guided the Red Sox to the American League Championship Series in 1999, losing to the Yankees in five games.

Fregosi, 59, has managed four major league teams since 1978, the latest being the Toronto Blue Jays.

Bonds, Piazza honored

San Francisco outfielder Barry Bonds and New York Mets catcher Mike Piazza and won their ninth Silver Slugger awards.

Texas shortstop Alex Rodriguez and Chicago Cubs outfielder Sammy Sosa were picked for the fifth time to the lists announced by Hillerich & Bradsby Co., the maker of Louisville Sluggers.

The selections, honoring the best offensive players at each position in each league, were determined by voting of major league managers and coaches.

Colorado first baseman Todd Helton, San Francisco second baseman Jeff Kent, San Francisco shortstop Rich Aurilia, St. Louis third baseman Albert Pujols, Arizona outfielder Luis Gonzalez and Colorado pitcher Mike Hampton round out the NL list.

Oakland first baseman Jason Giambi, Seattle second baseman Bret Boone, Anaheim third baseman Troy Glaus, Cleveland outfielder Juan Gonzalez, Boston outfielder Manny Ramirez, Seattle outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, New York catcher Jorge Posada and Seattle designated hitter Edgar Martinez complete the AL selections.

Around the horn

John Hart finished two days of interviews Tuesday with Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks for the team's vacant general manager position. Hicks also plans to interview Florida General Manager Dave Dombrowski, Oakland scouting director Grady Fuson, Mets assistant GM Omar Minaya, and Rangers interim GM Dan O'Brien.

The Anaheim Angels exercised their $5.25 million option for next season on reliever Troy Percival. Percival, a four-time All-Star who had 39 saves in 42 chances this year, said he planned to leave as a free agent after next season.

The Oakland Athletics have dropped their opposition to first baseman Jason Giambi's insistence on a no-trade clause for a new contract but the first baseman will still test the free agent market. The A's and Giambi had reportedly agreed on a $91 million, six-year contract during spring training, but talks stalled over the reigning AL MVP's desire for the no-trade clause.

The Sporting News has named Seattle's Lou Piniella its AL League manager of the year and Philadelphia's Larry Bowa its NL manager of the year.

Karl Kuehl, a former Montreal manager and long-time developer of baseball talent, joined the Cleveland Indians as special adviser to baseball operations. The Indians also activated left-hander Cameron Cairncross from the 60-day disabled list and sent him outright to the Buffalo Bisons. Cairncross spent the entire season on the DL after undergoing shoulder surgery last spring.

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