NEW YORK – Manager Joe Girardi signed a four-year contract Wednesday to stay with the New York Yankees through 2017.

General Manager Brian Cashman had said after the team missed the playoffs for just the second time since 1992 that the Yankees wanted to keep Girardi, whose name was mentioned for the Chicago Cubs opening in his native Illinois.

Girardi, 48, said it would be up to his family if he returned. He was completing his second three-year deal with New York since taking over for Joe Torre after the 2007 season.

“After talking to my family, this is where we wanted to come back,” Girardi said.

Despite finishing tied for third in the AL East at 85-77, Girardi had what many believed was his best season as a manager. He kept the Yankees in the playoff chase until late September despite injuries to Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson.

Alex Rodriguez’s appeal of his 211-game suspension will resume next Wednesday at Major League Baseball headquarters in New York, two people familiar with the arbitration hearing said.

ANDY PAFKO, a four-time All-Star who played on the last Chicago Cubs team to reach the World Series and was the forlorn outfielder who watched Bobby Thomson’s “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” sail over the left-field wall during the 1951 National League playoff, died in a nursing home in Stevensville, Mich. He was 92.

Pafko had Alzheimer’s disease.

A fan favorite known for his dogged play and diving catches, Pafko played with Jackie Robinson for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1951 and with Hank Aaron as a Milwaukee Brave from 1954-59. But he is perhaps best remembered as being part of one of the most famous games in baseball history, when Thomson’s three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth gave the New York Giants the win in the decisive Game 3 of their NL playoff against the Dodgers at the Polo Grounds.

“The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!” shouted broadcaster Russ Hodges, one of the signature moments in major league history.

ASTROS: The owner, Jim Crane, hopes Comcast SportsNet Houston will agree to pay his team what he calls a fair amount for its media rights, and can boost carriage after a season where only 40 percent of the city could view the games.

But for now the situation has gotten uglier. The network recently filed bankruptcy, followed by the Astros filing a motion to dismiss that case. The Astros say the network filed the motion to gain leverage over the team in the dispute.

“These TV deals are really the backbone of all these teams right now,” Crane said. “It’s not like we’re trying to get something any different than anybody. We want the fans to see the games, but we’re not going to cut a long-term 20-year bad deal. It will handicap us for that period of time.”

The media rights deals help teams bankroll the player’s salaries, which is an interesting subject with the Astros. They had the lowest payroll in the majors last season at under $30 million.

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