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SPORTS TODAY

Juan Gonzalez won't return to Indians

Retooling a division-winner whose season ended in disappointment again, the Cleveland Indians decided Wednesday not to exercise their options on All-Star Juan Gonzalez and pitcher Dave Burba.

New General Manager Mark Shapiro also indicated the team's future will probably not include reliever John Rocker or center fielder Kenny Lofton.

Manager Charlie Manuel was retained, but three members of his staff -- pitching coach Dick Pole, hitting coach Clarence Jones and first base-outfield coach Ted Uhlaender -- will not be back.

Gonzalez, 32, signed a $10 million, one-year contract last season with a $14 million option for 2002.

"The magnitude of a Juan Gonzalez contract -- or any other high-dollar free agent is not a realistic acquisition for the Cleveland Indians," Shapiro said.

Gonzalez, a three-time All-Star who started in this year's game in Seattle, hit 35 home runs for the Indians, batted .325 and drove in 140 runs, second in the AL behind the Mariners' Bret Boone.

Bisons manager receives another honor

Buffalo Bisons manager Eric Wedge has been named Triple-A Manager of the Year by Baseball America magazine. This is the second honor for Wedge, who also was named the International League's Manager of the Year.

Wedge, who's 33, led the Herd to a modern-day franchise record for victories in a 91-51 campaign that included the North Division championship.

He has posted a minor league managerial record of 304-258 (.541) over four seasons in the Cleveland farm system.

Giuliani is Fan One at Yankees pep rally

Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani played host at a New York pep rally for the World Series-bound New York Yankees at City Hall, about five blocks from the World Trade Center disaster site.

He touched on his recurrent theme: People should strive to get back to normal lives after the terrorist attacks.

"What's normal for October? The Yankees in the World Series," Giuliani told a cheering crowd of about 300 people.

Yankees manager Joe Torre said, "This season, there was no question that we drew the strength from the city of New York, and the NY on our caps represented more than just baseball fans, it represented New York City and all of America because of what we're fighting back from."

Game One of the World Series, against the Arizona Diamondbacks, is Saturday in Phoenix.

The Yankees also announced their pitching rotation. Mike Mussina will face Curt Schilling in Game One, Andy Pettitte will pitch Game Two against Randy Johnson, followed by Roger Clemens and Orlando Hernandez.

Johnson edges Feldman for Hammer Players title

Liz Johnson, a native of Niagara Falls, won her 10th career pro bowling title, defeating Michelle Feldman, 205-202, in the title game of the PWBA Hammer Players Championship in Rockford, Ill.

Johnson rolled a strike in the ninth frame and struck out in the 10th to earn the narrow victory. She earned $13,000 from the purse of $90,000.

Carolyn Dorin-Ballard finished third, followed by Tish Johnson and Kelly Kulick.

ESPN2 will show the championships Monday at 8 p.m.

Frankel has the horses for Breeders' breakthrough

Horses trained by Bobby Frankel already have won an incredible 13 Grade I stakes this year, but No. 14 would be special.

It would be the first Breeders' Cup win for the Hall of Fame trainer, who has failed to win one with 36 previous starters.

That could change in a big way at Belmont Park on Saturday, when Frankel will have a starter in six of the eight races at the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships.

Three of them are favorites in the early line -- 2-1 Aptitude in the featured $4 million Classic, 8-5 You in the Juvenile Fillies and 5-2 Flute in the Distaff.

Frankel has two second picks -- 5-1 Timboroa in the Turf and 5-1 Starine in the Filly & Mare Turf. He also will saddle Squirtle Squirt, 10-1 in the Sprint.

The shortest-priced favorite among the total of 98 horses entered Wednesday is 4-5 Officer in the Juvenile. The colt, unbeaten in five starts, is trained by Bob Baffert, who trained the retired Point Given.

Point Given, winner of four straight $1 million Grade I stakes, is the favorite for Horse of the Year. Frankel thinks that should change if Aptitude wins Saturday.

"If he wins the Classic, I think he should win everything," Frankel said.

Around & About

Dale Earnhardt Jr. will return the No. 3 to racing next season, using his late father's number in two Busch series races, sources told the Associated Press. Earnhardt Jr. will debut the No. 3 Chevrolet in February in the Busch race at Daytona International Speedway, sources said. The second Busch race has yet to be decided.

Brandi Chastain's broken right foot isn't as serious an injury as first thought, and she should return two weeks earlier than expected, in time for training camp next month with the WUSA champion Bay Area CyberRays.

Boston College, last season's surprise Big East basketball champion, and Georgetown, which returned to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1997, were picked to win their divisions in a poll of the conference coaches.

Top-ranked Gustavo Kuerten lost his fifth straight match, beaten by Julien Boutter of France in straight sets in the opening round of the $1 million Swiss Indoors in Basel, Switzerland.

The defending-champion United States withdrew today from the Nov. 7-11 Fed Cup finals in Madrid, citing security concerns and fears of terrorism. International Tennis Federation spokeswoman Barbara Travers said a replacement team would be selected by Monday.

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