The New York Yankees were denied permission to make a roster move to replace utility infielder Luis Sojo, who probably will miss at least two games of the World Series to attend the funeral in Venezuela of his father, who died Thursday of a heart aneurysm.

Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman asked Commissioner Bud Selig for permission to add an extra infielder for the first two games. Yankees owner George Steinbrenner said Selig refused the request.

"This seems like a rather harsh ruling," Steinbrenner said in a statement. "We feel very strongly that this young man's place at this time is with his family."

Manager Joe Torre uses Sojo as a late-inning defensive replacement for second baseman Chuck Knoblauch, who had a career-high 26 errors this season. Torre speculated publicly yesterday that Knoblauch's shoulder may be injured.

Grimsley In, Irabu Out

The Yankees dropped Hideki Irabu from their playoff roster and activated reliever Jason Grimsley. Irabu has pitched once in the postseason, allowing seven earned runs in relief in Game 3 of the ALCS. Grimsley was 7-2 with a 3.60 ERA in 55 relief appearances during the regular season.

Braves Now a Hot Ticket

Game 1 of the World Series is sold out, which might not make headlines in other cities. But the Braves failed to sell out home games in both the first two rounds of the playoffs. They had more than 10,000 empty seats for both their first-round games against the Houston Astros and about 7,000 empty seats for the first two games of the NL Championship Series. They did sell out the sixth and deciding Game 6 of the NLCS.

A Little History

The Yankees have blown just three of their 186 ninth-inning leads the past two seasons. One of those came this season when Atlanta overcame a 7-6 deficit to defeat Mariano Rivera and the Yankees on a three-run home run by Andruw Jones.

Yankees Game 1 starter Orlando Hernandez gave up a career-high four homers in that game, two to Ryan Klesko, one to Andruw Jones and one to Chipper Jones.

Easier to Focus

While New Yorkers were excited about the possibility of a Subway Series against the Mets, Torre admitted that playing the Braves might make things a bit easier.

"Coming [to Atlanta] puts a little more focus on the game as opposed to the bragging rights and stuff like that," Torre said.