Yankees expected to give manager Joe Girardi a new contract

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If anything, the Yankees like Joe Girardi even more now than when they hired him to manage the team six years ago.

General manager Brian Cashman praised Girardi’s handling of the team during a disappointing season and is about to offer him a new contract.

“He knows we’d like to have him stay and continue as manager of the New York Yankees as we move forward,” Cashman said Tuesday. “I feel we hired a good one.”

Cashman met Girardi for coffee on Monday, a day after New York’s season ended, and plans to have lunch Wednesday in New York with Girardi’s agent, Steve Mandell.

DODGERS: Andre Ethier might be limited to pinch-hitting duties in the National League Division Series because of a left ankle injury, leaving Los Angeles undecided on whether to include the outfielder on the playoff roster.

Ethier threw and hit but didn’t run during Tuesday’s workout at Dodger Stadium before the team departed for Atlanta, where it will face the Braves in Game 1 on Thursday.

TIGERS: From All-Star starter to postseason headliner – Max Scherzer is Jim Leyland’s pick again.

Detroit’s 21-game winner will start the AL Division Series opener Friday night at Oakland, with star Justin Verlander following in Game 2. Leyland announced the Tigers’ rotation Tuesday, putting an end to any speculation about who would start Game 1.

CARDINALS: Lance Lynn’s strong finish has earned him the start in Game 2 of the National League Division Series for St. Louis.

Adam Wainwright (19-9, 2.94) pitches the opener Thursday against Pittsburgh, and could also go in Game 5, if necessary.

Lynn (15-10, 3.97) was 2-0 with a 1.09 ERA his last four starts.

ROYALS: The club announced an agreement with Ned Yost on a two-year extension, just two days after completing an 86-76 season that marked their first winning record since 2003.

The extension binds Yost, 59, to the Royals through the 2015 season.

ATTENDANCE FALLS: Major League Baseball’s average attendance fell 1.2 percent this year, with the Miami Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies experiencing big drops.

The average was 30,514, down from 30,895 last year and the peak of 32,785 in 2007.

Total attendance of 74.03 million was down from 75.86 million last season but was the sport’s sixth-highest.

There were 37 postponements this year, up from 21 in 2012.

“After the challenges posed by poor weather early in the season, our game showed its resiliency with a terrific second half,” commissioner Bud Selig said.

After cutting payroll ahead of their second season in a downtown ballpark, the Marlins went 62-100 and experienced a 29 percent drop in home attendance, from 2.2 million to 1.6 million. The Phillies were 73-89 in their poorest season since 2000 and watched home attendance fall from 3.57 million to just over 3 million.

Milwaukee fell from 2.8 million to 2.5 million in a season when NL MVP Ryan Braun was suspended for the final 65 games after admitting he used banned performance-enhancing drugs. Minnesota (66-96) dropped by 298,000 and Texas by 282,000.

Toronto rose 437,000 to 2.5 million after acquiring Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and R.A. Dickey. The resurgent Los Angeles Dodgers climbed by 419,000 and led the major leagues at 3.7 million. Washington went up by 281,000, Baltimore by 255,000 and Cincinnati by 187,000.


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