HOUSTON — Cecil Cooper will return as manager of the Houston Astros after receiving a two-year contract Friday that runs through the 2009 season.

The 57-year-old was named interim manager when he replaced the fired Phil Garner on Aug. 27.

The announcement was made before the Astros opened their final series of the season, against Atlanta.

BUCHHOLZ SEASON OVER: Boston rookie Clay Buchholz won't pitch for the rest of the year and will miss the postseason because of shoulder fatigue. The 23-year-old right-hander pitched a no-hitter against Baltimore on Sept. 1 in his second major league start, then was sent to the bullpen and made a relief appearance on Sept. 6. He had just one outing after that, starting and losing at Toronto on Sept. 19.

SANCHEZ HAS SURGERY: Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Freddy Sanchez had a 15-minute arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder Friday to correct a minor joint problem. Sanchez had experienced pain in the shoulder over the last 18 months and treated the problem with occasional cortisone shots. He is expected to need six to eight weeks to regain total strength in the shoulder.

LA RUSSA UNSURE OF FUTURE: St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said he would take a few days after the season to decide whether or not to return to the team he has managed for the past 12 seasons. La Russa, third all-time in managerial victories with 2,372 heading into Friday night's game in Pittsburgh, is finishing out the final season of his contract with the Cardinals. La Russa said principle owner Bill DeWitt and general manager Walt Jocketty have indicated to him they want him back.