Yankees, D'Backs in World Series
By United Press International
The New York Yankees will begin the quest for their 27th World Series title -- and fourth in a row -- when they take on the Arizona Diamondbacks in Phoenix Saturday.
It's the first shot at the world championship for the four-year-old Arizona team.
New York captured its fourth straight American League pennant Monday night by routing Seattle 12-3.
Winning four or more pennants in a row, however, is old hat for the Yankees. They've done it four times before this year.
Bonds named top player
ST. LOUIS, Oct. 23 (UPI) -- After the year he's had, San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds was the obvious choice of his peers as The Sporting News' Player of the Year.
Bonds broke Mark McGwire's 1998 home run record of 70 by hitting 73, and had the highest slugging percentage (.863) and most walks (177) in a single season. Both records had been held by Babe Ruth.
"It's a tremendous award, and it's very much appreciated because all the players voted for it. I'm honored," Bonds said.
The Pitchers of the Year were Roger Clemens of the New York Yankees and Curt Schilling of the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Rookies of the Year were Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners and Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Giambi may get no-trade contract
SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 23 (UPI) -- The Oakland Athletics reportedly are no longer opposed to giving All-Star first baseman Jason Giambi a no-trade clause.
The Athletics offered Giambi, who is eligible to become a free agent in November, a six-year contract worth more than $90 million during the season, but were not willing to give him a no-trade clause and that caused negotiations to cease.
However, Athletics general manager Billy Beane told the San Francisco Chronicle that the organization is now prepared to give Giambi a no-trade clause.
"We've told Jason and (Giambi's agent) Arn Tellem, that's (no-trade clause) no longer an issue," Beane told the newspaper.
Giambi, who turns 31 in January, is the key offensive player on a young A's team that won 102 games -- second most in the majors -- but squandered a two games to none lead and lost to the New York Yankees in the American League Division Series.
Ironically, the Yankees may make a bid for Giambi, who has made no secret of his fondness for New York and the Yankees' tradition. But he is also the leader of the A's and Beane believes he may be able to retain Giambi.
Strickland joins Heat
MIAMI, Oct. 23 (UPI) -- The Miami Heat have agreed to a contract with troubled point guard Rod Strickland. erms of the contract were not disclosed.
Despite the Heat's dedication to a younger roster, they signed the 35-year-old Strickland, who has played for four teams during a 13-year, problem-laced career during which he garnered a reputation for consistently missing practices and team meetings and alienating teammates and coaches.
A good ball handler with 7,026 career assists, Strickland began last season with the Washington Wizards before being waived. He signed a free agent contract with the Portland Trail Blazers on March 5.
Kefeinikov in strong Petersburg showing
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia, Oct. 23 (UPI) 0 -- Native son Yevgeny Kafelnikov continued his strong play of late with a straight-sets victory in the first round of the $800,000 St. Petersburg Open Tuesday.
The 27-year-old from Sochi battled through a difficult first set before defeating Sargis Sargsian of Armenia, 7-6 (7-3), 6-2.
Kafelnikov reached the semifinals at the U.S. Open and the final at the President's Cup in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, winning his second title of the year at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow three weeks ago and advancing to the semifinals at Stuttgart.
His Moscow triumph was his fifth straight at that event, and he won this tournament in 1995 and reached the finals the following year. He was a semifinalist here last season.
The only other seeded player in action on Tuesday was No. 7 Greg Rusedski of Britain, who defeated Andrei Stoliarov of Russia, 6-1, 6-4.
Kafelnikov, defending champion Marat Safin and Germany's Tommy Haas are here looking to gain points toward clinching a spot for the Masters Cup in Sydney, Australia,
Safin, the third seed, reached the semifinals at the U.S. Open and claimed his first title of the year by beating Kafelnikov in the final at Tashkent. The Moscow native will try to avoid a three-match losing streak Wednesday when he faces David Prinosil of Germany.
LPGA returning to Chicago area
CHICAGO, Oct. 23 (UPI) -- The LPGA Tour is heading back to the Chicago area in 2002.
Gateway Sports Promotion, in conjunction with the LPGA, announced on Tuesday the Kellogg-Keebler Classic will debut at Stonebridge Country Club in Aurora, Illinois beginning in 2002, scheduled for May 27-June 2.
This marks the first time since 1994 the LPGA will have a regular tour stop in the Chicago area.