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Yankees, Johnson nearing deal

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Randy Johnson and the Yankees moved closer to agreement Wednesday on a two-year contract extension that would allow New York to complete its tentative trade with Arizona for the Big Unit.

Yankees officials negotiated by telephone with agent Alan Nero, who was busy for much of the day with Wade Boggs, elected to the Hall of Fame a day earlier.

New York and Nero are discussing a two-year deal worth about $32 million, as well as whether to restructure the final season of Johnson's current contract. The five-time Cy Young Award winner has a $16 million salary in 2005, of which $6 million is deferred at 2 percent interest.

Arizona's tentative trade with New York calls for the Diamondbacks to receive pitchers Javier Vazquez and Brad Halsey, catcher Dioner Navarro and $9 million.

Johnson, who has a no-trade clause, has until Friday to agree to an extension. If he waives the clause, all involved players would have to pass physicals for the trade to be finalized.

Arizona also has a preliminary agreement in place to trade Navarro and pitching prospect William Juarez to Los Angeles for outfielder Shawn Green and $8 million. That deal is contingent on the Diamondbacks and Green agreeing to an extension.

In other Yankees news, New York made an offer to re-sign Ruben Sierra. The designated hitter and outfielder, who made $1 million last season, faces a Saturday midnight deadline to stay with the Yankees.

Chuck Berry, Sierra's agent, said his client was dealing with several teams and would not make any decision until later in the week.

TIGERS OUT OF BELTRAN CHASE: The Detroit Tigers said they are out of talks to sign Carlos Beltran.

The Houston Astros and New York Mets are trying to reach a deal with the All-Star outfielder, and the Chicago Cubs also might be in the hunt. The New York Yankees say they won't turn their attention to Beltran until later this week, after they complete negotiations on a contract extension with Johnson that would allow them to finalize their trade with Arizona to acquire the Big Unit. Tigers president Dave Dombrowski said Wednesday that Beltran's price was too high for Detroit. Agent Scott Boras is seeking a deal worth more than $100 million for the 27-year-old center fielder.

ANAHEIM SEEKS RESTRAINING ORDER: The city of Anaheim asked a judge to block the Angels from adding Los Angeles to their name.

The complaint filed Wednesday in Orange County Superior Court asked for a temporary restraining order against the use of the name "Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim." City spokesman John Nicoletti said a judge was expected to rule on the request Friday.

Anaheim officials claim the name violates a stadium lease agreement that has provided nearly $30 million in public subsidies to renovate the club's ballpark.

Anaheim argues that the change hurts its ability to market itself as a tourist destination — a key issue in a city that depends on a hotel room tax as its largest source of income.

PEDRO REPORTING EARLY: Pedro Martinez plans to arrive at his first spring training with New York Mets on the voluntary reporting date.

Martinez, who signed a $53 million four-year contract with New York, made a habit of reporting to the Boston Red Sox after the voluntary date but before the mandatory deadline.

"I will arrive at spring training on Feb. 17," Martinez said Wednesday. "I'm excited with the deals the Mets are doing to strengthen the team, and I want to start working."

New York's first workout for pitchers, catchers and players coming off injuries is the following day, with full-squad workouts starting on Feb. 23. The mandatory reporting date for all players is March 1, and the Mets open the season April 4 at Cincinnati.

"I'm anxious waiting for that day," the three-time Cy Young Award winner said.

GARDENHIRE EXTENDED: Ron Gardenhire was given a two-year contract extension through 2007 by the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday, his reward for leading the team to three AL Central titles in three seasons as manager. Last year, Gardenhire, 47, became the fourth manager in major league history to start his career with three straight first-place finishes, joining Larry Dierker (Houston, 1997-99), Ralph Houk (New York Yankees, 1961-63) and Hughie Jennings (Detroit, 1907-09).

Guiding the Twins to a 92-70 record, Gardenhire finished second in AL Manager of the Year voting last season to Buck Showalter of the Texas Rangers. The Twins lost to the Yankees in the first round of the playoffs for the second straight season.

ORTIZ RECOVERING: David Ortiz is recovering from a nagging right-shoulder injury and hopes to be healthy when spring training starts next month. Ortiz said Wednesday's workout in Quisqueya Stadium in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, was the first "strong training session" since last year's World Series.

"My shoulder is feeling better, thanks to the medicines and the exercise program that the Red Sox doctors recommended," Ortiz said. "I'll be 100 percent healthy when spring training arrives."

GONZALEZ JOINS DEVIL RAYS: Free agent infielder Alex S. Gonzalez is changing uniforms again after agreeing Wednesday to a $1.75 million, one-year contract with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. The Devil Rays plan to use the versatile 31-year-old at third base in hopes he can add some punch to one of the weakest offenses in the American League. Two years ago, Gonzalez hit a career-high 20 homers for the Chicago Cubs.