RIVERA WANTS TORRE BACK: Mariano Rivera isn't happy that Joe Torre might be out as manager of the New York Yankees and said the team's decision will be factored into whether he returns.

"I don't feel good about it," Rivera said Wednesday, two days after the Yankees were eliminated from the playoffs. "I don't see why they're even thinking (about letting Torre go). I wish he's back, definitely. If you ask me what I would want, I want him back."

Rivera's contract also is expiring and he is eligible to become a free agent. He said whether Torre returns will help determine whether he remains with the Yankees.

"It might do a lot of it," he said. "I mean, I've been with Joe for so many years, and the kind of person he has been for me and for my teammates. It's been great. The thing is that I don't see why they have to put him in this position."

PHILS FULLY INVESTED: Charlie Manuel might not be the only one earning a big contract from the NL East champs. Now that the Philadelphia Phillies have signed their manager to a contact extension that could keep him in red pinstripes through the end of the decade, they're prepared to bump their payroll to a franchise high and ensure he has a contending team.

OK, so the payroll won't rival what the New York Yankees pay out every year, but pushing the salaries well past the nine-figure mark might be enough for the Phillies to keep All-Star center fielder Aaron Rowand and add the pitching help they need.

Team president David Montgomery said on Wednesday that the Phillies spent about $103 million in player salaries in 2007 and expects next year's figure to be "in that ballpark, or higher."

CARDS, SPRINGER AGREE: Cardinals reliever Russ Springer, one of the bright spots for a team that won the World Series in 2006 but didn't make the postseason this year, agreed Wednesday to a one-year contract.

The 38-year-old right-hander was 8-1 with a 2.18 ERA and appeared in a career-high 76 games while limiting opposing batters to a .181 average. His ERA ranked seventh among NL relievers and his victory total was a career best.