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Pena, Young are named comeback players of year

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — One season after being released by three teams, Carlos Pena put together the best performance in Tampa Bay Devil Rays history and was chosen Tuesday as Major League Baseball's AL comeback player of the year.

The 28-year-old slugger batted .282 with a club-record 46 home runs and 121 RBIs after joining the Devil Rays in spring training as a non-roster invitee.

Last year, he homered once in 18 games for Boston and spent most of the season in Triple-A with the Red Sox and New York Yankees. He hit 27 homers and drove in 82 runs for Detroit in 2004, but slipped to 18 homers and 44 RBIs the following season and was released by the Tigers in March 2006.

In the National League, Washington Nationals first baseman Dmitri Young was chosen as the NL comeback player of the year Tuesday after setting aside professional, legal and substance abuse problems to become an All-Star.

RANDOLPH RETURNING: Mets manager Willie Randolph will be back with the club next season, hanging onto his job after New York's enormous collapse.

LEYLAND GETS EXTENSION: Detroit manager Jim Leyland got what he wanted Tuesday when the Tigers extended his contract by one year, keeping him in the dugout through the 2009 season.

Leyland said last week he planned to meet with Tigers president Dave Dombrowski the day after the season and hoped to drive home to Pittsburgh knowing he had two years on his deal.

BRAVES WON'T RE-SIGN JONES: The Atlanta Braves are cutting ties with Andruw Jones, saying they can't afford to keep the perennial Gold Glove center fielder who's spent his entire career with the organization.

While hoping to stay in Atlanta, Jones wasn't caught off-guard by the team's stance. He made $13.5 million this season and was looking for a hefty raise despite slumping badly.

POWER OUTAGE: Home runs in the major leagues this year dropped to their lowest level in more than a decade.

An average of 2.04 homers per game were hit this season, the Elias Sports Bureau said Tuesday, a drop of 8.1 percent from last year's 2.22 average and the lowest figure in the majors since the 1995 average of 2.02.