Pete Rose has a well-placed ally in his argument for reinstatement to Major League Baseball: President Clinton.

In an interview with People magazine, Clinton said he would like to see Rose admitted to the Hall of Fame someday because he considers Rose one of the finest to play the game.

"I think just about everybody ought to get a second chance," Clinton said. "I'd like to see it worked out, because he brought a lot of joy to the game, and he gave a lot of joy to people, and he's paid a price--God knows, he's paid a price."

Rose agreed to a lifetime ban from baseball in 1989, after a gambling investigation. The ban made Rose ineligible for the Hall of Fame. Rose sought reinstatement in 1997, but Commissioner Bud Selig has not formally responded. . . .

The 22 umpires who lost their jobs with Major League Baseball may not find out until spring training if they'll be back on the field.

A grievance hearing in Philadelphia--the umpires' last chance to regain their jobs--was adjourned yesterday because the arbitrator needs to visit his ailing mother in Chicago, a baseball official said.

Arbitrator Alan Symonette said he expects the hearing to resume sometime in January. When the hearing finishes, it may take Symonette until February to rule on the case. . . .

Outfielder Wil Cordero signed a $9 million, three-year contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates.


De La Hoya Wants Rematch

Oscar De La Hoya wants a rematch with Felix Trinidad, but says he won't chase the man who outpointed him on Sept. 18.

"They made a wrong move by thinking they had all the power because they won the title," De La Hoya said yesterday. "They think I need Trinidad. I don't need Trinidad."

The remarks were made during a news conference announcing De La Hoya's 12-round welterweight match against Derrell Coley Feb. 26 at Madison Square Garden.

De La Hoya said he would like to fight Trinidad in June and would take less money than the IBF-WBC welterweight champion.

If De La Hoya had beaten Trinidad, he would have had to make a WBC mandatory title defense against Coley (34-1-2, 24 knockouts). When he lost, he was made the WBC's top contender and Coley was dropped to No. 2. Should Coley beat De La Hoya, it remains to be seen whether Trinidad will give him a title shot.

De La Hoya said he would want a Trinidad rematch at 147 pounds. Trinidad has indicated he plans to move up to the 154-pound class. The day after he beat De La Hoya, it was announced he would challenge WBA junior middleweight champion David Reid on Showtime.

HBO, however, claimed it has the right to Reid's next fight, and the match fell through. On Tuesday, America Presents, Reid's promoter, filed suit against HBO in federal court in New York.

The suit accuses HBO of blocking a Reid-Trinidad fight so it could pursue a De La Hoya-Trinidad rematch. Dan Goossen, president of America Presents, maintained Reid has no contract with HBO.


Budge Injured in Accident

Tennis great Don Budge broke his leg and was critically injured when his car hit trees after skidding off a wet road in the Pocono Mountains. Budge, 84, had to be cut from the wreckage by rescue crews. He was airlifted to St. Francis Hospital in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and might have internal injuries.

Budge was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 1964.



Marv Albert will replace Bob Costas as the lead voice on NBA broadcasts for NBC beginning with the 2000-2001 season.

Costas stepped in on NBC's NBA broadcasts two years ago when Albert pleaded guilty in a sex assault case.

Dick Ebersol, chairman of the network's sports division, announced the change yesterday. He said Costas's duties for the Sydney Olympics and his preparation for the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City would not allow him enough time to devote to the NBA.


Surgery for Etcheverry

D.C. United captain Marco Etcheverry had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee yesterday and should be able to resume offseason training in two to four weeks, the Major League Soccer club said.

Etcheverry, 29, had part of his torn posterior lateral meniscus removed, an injury that he initially suffered in United's regular season finale against New England in early October. He also had significant scar tissue taken from the joint, much of which had resulted from a 1993 operation to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

The procedure took one hour and was performed by club physician William Hazel at Commonwealth Orthopaedic Surgery Center in Fairfax.

Figure Skating

Fuehring Injured

Austrian ice dancer Angelika Fuehring broke her cheekbone and eye socket when her head struck the ice after partner Bruno Ellinger lost his balance while posing for photographers. The five-time Austrian national champion underwent surgery at Linz General Hospital and was in satisfactory condition, the Austria Press Agency reported. . . .

Robert Waggenhoffer, a world professional figure skating champion and silver medalist in the 1982 U.S. nationals, died of AIDS Monday at age 39, according to his manager.