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Reuters

Oct 9 (The Sports Xchange) - Joe Girardi signed a four-year contract reportedly worth $4 million annually to remain as the New York Yankees' manager through the 2017 season, the team announced Wednesday.

Girardi's current deal was set to expire Nov. 1, and he had not committed to returning to the team. The Chicago Cubs were also reportedly interested in trying to lure Girardi, who was with the Cubs during part of his playing career, away from New York.

Girardi, 48, has guided the Yankees to the playoffs in four of the past six seasons, including the franchise's 27th World Series title in 2009. Girardi's 564-408 (.580) winning percentage is also the highest in baseball since 2008.

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Cal Ripken Jr. is open to returning to baseball in some capacity, possibly as a manager, but says he hasn't been contacted about any current openings with major league teams.

The Hall of Famer ended his playing career with the Baltimore Orioles after the 2001 season. Since he retired, he has run his own company, Ripken Baseball Inc., and worked as a baseball analyst for TBS Sports.

The Cincinnati Reds, Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs have managerial vacancies.

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Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers wants his pitchers to show more fight in the future.

Towers told Arizona Sports 620 -- after Diamondbacks pitching coach Charles Nagy was fired -- he expects pitchers to defend teammates when necessary by throwing at opponents. Those who don't will be looking for work elsewhere.

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Four-time All-Star Andy Pafko, who played with Hall of Famers Jackie Robinson and Hank Aaron and was part of several memorable moments in baseball history, died on Tuesday at age 92.

Pafko died of natural causes at a nursing home in Stevensville, Mich., the Associated Press first reported Wednesday.

The Wisconsin native started his baseball career with the Chicago Cubs in 1943 and cracked the starting lineup the next year at age 19. In 1945, he played on the franchise's last World Series team, batting .298 with 110 RBIs during the regular season.

His best years came in 1948 and 1950 when he hit .312 with 26 home runs and 101 RBIs and .304 with 36 home runs and 92 RBIs, respectively. (Editing by Frank Pingue)

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