Cubs pick up Piniella’s option for 2010 (AP)

Manager Lou Piniella plans to stick with the Chicago Cubs for a while. The Cubs picked up the option on Piniella’s contract for 2010 on Tuesday, a day before the NL Central champions open the playoffs against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The 65-year-old Piniella guided the Cubs to a 97-64 record, the best mark in the league.

Lee, Lidge win comeback player awards (AP)

Brad Lidge has a shot to cap his perfect season with a World Series ring. Cliff Lee should be ready to clear room in the trophy case for a Cy Young Award. First, the two pitchers received a different honor Tuesday when they were selected Comeback Players of the Year. Lee was 22-3 with an American League-leading 2.54 ERA for the Cleveland Indians and could be their second consecutive Cy Young winner.

Iowa RB Greene to return Saturday (AP)

Iowa running back Shonn Greene is expected to play Saturday when the Hawkeyes face Michigan State. Greene suffered a head injury early in the fourth quarter of last week’s 22-17 loss against Northwestern and did not return. Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz says Greene is not expected to miss any practice time.

Haslett restores Bulger as Rams starter (AP)

St. Louis Rams quarterback Marc Bulger ducked the media last week, afraid of what he might say after getting benched by Scott Linehan. Bulger got his job back Tuesday, the biggest development of new coach Jim Haslett’s first full day in charge of the winless team. The highest-paid player in franchise history, who ran the scout team offense last week, also broke his silence.

Ricky Williams says he fights pot ‘urge’ (AP)

Ricky Williams says he was briefly tempted to smoke marijuana during the Miami Dolphins’ bye weekend, an act that could have ended his roller-coaster NFL career. Williams has been in the league’s substance-abuse program since 2002 and has tested positive for marijuana. Williams told The Miami Herald for Tuesday’s editions that when players were given Friday off, “automatically your mind, which is…

Tony Mandarich admits steroid use (AP)

Former NFL draft bust Tony Mandarich says he used steroids at Michigan State and faked a drug test before the 1988 Rose Bowl. He also said during an interview on “Inside the NFL” that will air Wednesday on Showtime that he did not use steroids in the NFL but was addicted to alcohol and painkillers. Mandarich, whose autobiography will be released in March, said he provided a fake urine sample to…

AL Central winner will be hard-pressed to make run

The ChiSox live to play another day, but Dayn Perry says the extra work will make it hard for them or the Twins to make a playoff run.