Jim Fregosi, 44, fortified with a two-year contract and traditional optimism, became manager of the Chicago White Sox yesterday.

"The team is 9 1/2 games out," he said. "That's nothing. I don't see any reason we can't turn things around . . . This is a young club, there's talent here. There's some speed, there's defense and there's power. We have to put it all together."

He inherits his coaches from Tony LaRussa, who was fired Friday, but said he will have an option "to name the coaches of my own choosing next year."

After playing 18 years in the majors, he managed the California Angels. He has been managing the Louisville Redbirds of the Class AAA American Associa-tion . . .

Infielder Joey Cora of the Beaumont Golden Gators of the Texas League was stabbed in the abdomen and lower left arm Saturday night after his team had lost, 1-0, to the San Antonio Dodgers in San Antonio. He was the San Diego Padres' first draft choice last year and hit .324 in the Northwest League.

"Joey and several teammates were outside V.J. Keefe Field," detective Larry Rowe said, "waiting for the team bus to take them back to their hotel when a group of individuals, for what reason we don't know, attacked him."

Cora, 21, who is from Caguas, Puerto Rico, and attended Vanderbilt, was in fair condition after surgery. One man was arrested. . . .

A sandlot umpire in Los Angeles was beaten up even before he got to his game. Geary Dancy, 30, wearing his uniform on his way to a neighborhood diamond, was beset by 15 or 20 youngsters who used their fists, feet and a crutch. Police prevented any serious injury.

"Some of them were wearing red and apparently thought Dancy's blue shirt meant he was from another gang," a policeman said. "He was holding his own until one of them hit him from behind."