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Torre decides on starting center fielder Monday

TAMPA, Fla. -- Bernie Williams and Kenny Lofton are both
expected to be in the lineup when the New York Yankees resume their regular season Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

With Williams recovered from an appendectomy that caused him to
miss most of the spring-training schedule, manager Joe Torre has to
decide which one will play center field and which one will be the
designated hitter.

Torre planned to announce his decision Monday.

"The only thing that you hope is the players will understand
that they're all qualified and they all have been big players,"
Torre said. "But there's only so much room for so many people. I'm
going to do the best I can to keep as many of the guys as sharp as
I can."

Williams played seven innings in center and went 1-for-2 with
two walks in Sunday's 3-3 tie between the Yankees and their top
minor league prospects. He has played in 10 exhibition games, eight
of them in the minors, since his appendix was removed Feb. 26.

"He's ready to go," Torre said.

Jason Giambi, the DH against Tampa Bay in Japan last Wednesday,
will be back at first base. The artificial turf in the Tokyo Dome
had aggravated his left knee, which was operated on during the
offseason.

New York's Mike Mussina faces Victor Zambrano in a rematch of
the opener, won by the Devil Rays 8-3. Mussina allowed five runs
and 10 hits over five innings.

"It's not a bad taste," he said. "I just want to get back out
there and pitch."

The Yankees and Devil Rays, who spilt the two-game series in
Tokyo Dome, will have had five days off before resuming the season.

"We're as ready to restart as we could be," Torre said.

Kevin Brown, who allowed one run and six hits in Wednesday's
12-1 over Tampa Bay, will start Wednesday against Paul Abbott.

Notes: Third base coach Luis Sojo left the team following the
death of his mother in Miami. He is expected to return at the end
of the week. ... RHP Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez reported no
problems one day after throwing batting practice for the first time
since shoulder surgery last May. ... No. 5 starter Jon Lieber
(right groin) is scheduled to resume throwing off a mound Friday.
He hopes to start pitching in minor league games in about two
weeks. ... 1B Travis Lee played catch for the first time since
hurting his left shoulder March 16. He could rejoin the Yankees in
about 10 days. ... John Rodriguez hit a two-run homer for the
Yankees' minor leaguers. Derek Jeter had an RBI single. Darren Bragg
homered and Jeff Deardorff tied it for the Yankees with a
run-scoring single in the bottom of the ninth. New York relievers
Paul Quantrill, Felix Heredia, Gabe White and Tom Gordon each
worked a perfect inning.