HOWARD TO YANKEES: Frank Howard, one of the most popular New York Yankees coaches before being fired in August 1989, has signed a two-year contract to rejoin the coaching staff, the New York Daily News reported. Howard, 54, a one-time Washington Senators star, was dismissed, along with manager Dallas Green and coaches Lee Elia and Pat Corrales, just over a year ago, when George Steinbrenner made Bucky Dent the manager.

Howard worked in the Atlanta Braves farm system this year. He is expected to replace Darrell Evans, who will be fired, the Daily News and New York Newsday said.

PIRATES HOMECOMING: About 300 fans greeted the Pittsburgh Pirates early Saturday after they returned from Cincinnati and losing the National League playoffs. Dan Kesneck of Squirrel Hill held a black-and-gold sign that read, "Thanks." "We have the basics of a heckuva team," he said.

ORIOLES TO PADRES: The Padres have fired director of player development Tom Romenesko, the 14th member of the organization to be let go since Jack McKeon's dismissal as general manager. The Padres also announced John Barr, scouting director for the Baltimore Orioles, has been named assistant general manager.

Barr, 33, helped rebuild the Orioles' system. He was instrumental in making Orioles pitching star Ben McDonald the top pick in the June 1989 free agent draft.

In another move, Gerard Hunsicker, 40, a former Astros front office executive who had been the New York Mets director of minor league operations for two years, has been named director of baseball operations for the Padres.

WORLD SERIES UMPS: Larry Barnett of the AL and Frank Pulli of the NL were picked to head the umpiring crew for the World Series.

Jim Quick and Randy Marsh of the NL and Ted Hendry and Rocky Roe of the AL also will be on the six-man crew.