Yankees SS Derek Jeter was removed from the regular season finale against Boston in the fourth inning yesterday as a precaution after bruising his right knee.

Jeter was bruised during a headfirst slide into second base when he was thrown out by Manny Ramirez trying to stretch a single off the left field wall into a double in the first inning. Jeter was replaced by Mark Bellhorn.

The Yankees announced that he was taken out so that he could keep his knee iced as a precaution.

"Jeter's okay," Manager Joe Torre said. "He was a little gimpy."

The only regular who didn't start was 1B Jason Giambi as the Yankees tried to clinch home-field advantage for the AL Division Series.

Torre said he wanted to be fair to Cleveland by using his best players. Keeping the Red Sox out of the playoffs -- and avoiding the possibility of facing them in the AL Championship Series -- wasn't a major factor in his decision, he said.

* WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT: On his way to the dugout after a 3-1 loss to the White Sox that ended his team's season, Indians OF Grady Sizemore tossed his helmet and yanked out his jersey before being stopped by White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen.

"I told Sizemore, 'Keep playing kid, you and your team had a great season,' " Guillen said. "He's a player who is great for baseball. The bad news is that I've got to face him."

Sizemore, considered one of the team's top young players, had a .289 batting average, with 22 home runs and 81 RBI.

The Indians lost six of their final seven games and missed the playoffs.

* ON THE LOSING END: Lou Piniella didn't have to wait long for another job -- albeit a temporary one. There is a possibility Piniella, 62, might take a year off before rejoining the managerial ranks. After taking 10 or so days off, Piniella is scheduled to join Fox for the AL Championship Series as an analyst.

"Got to make sure that my suits fit," Piniella joked about his preparation for a return to the TV booth. "I'm looking forward to it."

* COACHES NOT KEPT: Royals pitching coach Guy Hansen and bench coach Bob Schaefer will not be back next year after they were offered minor league contracts.

General Manager Allard Baird said remaining field coaches will be extended contract offers for the 2006 season.

-- From News Services

Alex Rodriguez tends to Derek Jeter. "Jeter's okay," Joe Torre said. "He was a little gimpy."