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Giant leap for Bochy

Padres skipper emerging in S.F.

San Diego Padres manager Bruce Bochy has agreed to become the new skipper of the San Francisco Giants, and was still working out details last night after meeting with team officials most of the day.

Bochy had agreed in principle to take the job left vacant when Felipe Alou's contract was not renewed, two baseball officials told the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal was still pending.

Barring any last-minute snags, Bochy will be introduced at a news conference today. Bochy is set to leave Monday for Japan to manage a group of major leaguers in an exhibition tour. He replaced Red Sox skipper Terry Francona, who withdrew because of health reasons.

Bochy was the only candidate the Giants interviewed who has major league managerial experience, something general manager Brian Sabean said he preferred.

The Giants received permission from the Padres Wednesday to talk to Bochy, who has one year left on his contract with San Diego. The Giants had only a seven-day window in which to come to an agreement with Bochy because he is employed by another team -- Bochy is due to make $1.9 million in guaranteed money in 2007.

Sheffield stewing

The Yankees' plan to exercise a one-year option on Gary Sheffield isn't sitting well with the veteran slugger, who was hoping for a multiyear payday in the free agent market. While the Yankees have until Nov. 5 to decide on the option, Sheffield told USA Today that he has been told the option, worth $13 million, will be exercised. "This will not work, this will not work at all," Sheffield was quoted as saying. "I don't want to play first base a year for them. I will not do that." If the Yankees exercise the option, included as part of the three-year contract Sheffield negotiated before the 2004 season, they would prevent him from signing with a division rival and have their choice where to trade him . . . Don Mattingly will take over as bench coach for the Yankees next season, replacing Lee Mazzilli, according to a Newsday report. The move puts Mattingly one step closer to Joe Torre's job, making him the favorite to take over as manager when the longtime skipper leaves, according to the report on Newsday's website. Torre's contract expires after next season. Mattingly has been the Yankees' hitting coach for three seasons . . . Yankees pitcher Randy Johnson had surgery to repair a herniated disk in his back. Yankees GM Brian Cashman expects Johnson to be behind the other pitchers when spring training starts . . . Scott Strickland, a righthander who pitched in the minors last season, signed a $550,000, one-year contract with the Padres . . . The body of a Devil Rays minor league pitcher missing after his canoe capsized over the weekend was found in Independence, Va. Erik Walker, 23, was last seen Saturday with a female companion, who made it safely ashore after their canoe tipped in a swift stretch of rapids.

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