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YANKEES BACK JOBA

Yankees manager Joe Girardi and co-chairman Hal Steinbrenner lent their support Monday to pitcher Joba Chamberlain, arrested over the weekend on suspicion on drunken driving.

"I have spoken to Joba and he made it very clear to me that he made a mistake," Girardi said in a statement. "We certainly don't condone his actions, but he is part of the Yankees family and I believe he learned a valuable lesson which he can grow from."

Chamberlain is to appear in court Dec.17. His blood-alcohol content level was 0.134 at the time of his arrest; the legal limit in Nebraska is 0.08.

The right-hander, 23, was cited early Saturday on suspicion of driving under the influence, speeding and having an open container of alcohol in his vehicle. Lancaster County Chief Deputy Attorney Joe Kelly said Monday that his office has not decided on formal charges.

HENDRY REWARDED: General manager Jim Hendry and the Cubs agreed to a four-year contract extension through the 2012 season. Chicago won its second straight NL Central title and went a league-best 97-64.

A'S RE-SIGN ELLIS: The Athletics secured some stability in their middle infield, agreeing on an $11-million, two-year contract with 2B Mark Ellis. Oakland also has a club option in the deal that could keep Ellis, 31, through the 2011 season.

LOWELL SURGERY: Red Sox 3B Mike Lowell had surgery on his right hip. Team spokesman John Blake said last year's World Series MVP wanted to have surgery now to have sufficient time to recover before spring training.

PIRATES HIRING: Joe Kerrigan, a former pitching coach with the Red Sox, Phillies and Expos, will succeed Jeff Andrews in the same job with Pittsburgh.

Up next:DEVILS

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