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Baseball notes: Indians’ Lee wins Cy Young

SHARE Baseball notes: Indians’ Lee wins Cy Young

Cliff Lee went from the minor leagues to the pinnacle of pitching in one fantastic year. Now, he's eager to repeat his award-winning performance.

Lee took the American League Cy Young Award in a runaway Thursday, capping a dominant comeback season that made him the second consecutive Cleveland Indians lefty to earn the coveted prize.

"It feels a lot better than it felt in '07," Lee said on a conference call from his Arkansas home. "I want to win this Cy Young again. I want to make a habit of it."

Demoted to the minors last year, Lee went a major league-best 22-3 this season with a 2.54 ERA. He received 24 of 28 first-place votes and 132 points in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Toronto ace Roy Halladay was a distant runner-up with four first-place votes and 71 points. Record-setting closer Francisco Rodriguez of the Los Angeles Angels finished third with 32 points.

Lee became the third Cleveland pitcher to win a Cy Young, following Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry in 1972 and CC Sabathia last year.

"We are pretty close friends, and there's a lot of things I picked up from him and I'd like to think there's a few things he picked up from me," Lee said. "I've tried to help him out in situations and he's tried to do the same for me. Apparently it's worked. We've turned into pretty good pitchers."

SWISHER ACQUIRED BY YANKEES: Nick Swisher became the first part of the New York Yankees' offseason makeover when he was acquired from the Chicago White Sox on Thursday in a five-player trade.

The Yankees obtained Swisher and right-hander Kaneoka Texeira for pitching prospect Jeff Marquez, infielder Wilson Betemit and minor league pitcher Jhonny Nunez.

YANKEES AND MARTE AGREE TO $12M: Left-hander Damaso Marte is remaining with the New York Yankees after agreeing to a $12 million, three-year contract that includes a club option for 2012. New York last week declined a $6 million option on the 33-year-old reliever, choosing to pay a $250,000 buyout.

BREWERS PICK UP RETIRED TORRES' OPTION: The Milwaukee Brewers exercised Salomon Torres' $3.75 million option on Thursday even though he announced his retirement.

The Brewers plan to place Torres on the voluntary retired list on Friday, which will remove Torres from Milwaukee's 40-man roster and keep the club from having to pay his salary.

JOHNSON BECOMES FREE AGENT: Randy Johnson filed for free agency on Thursday after failing to reach a contract agreement to return to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The 45-year-old lefty is five wins shy of 300 and "hopes to find a team where he can continue to pitch at a high level and contribute to another world championship," agents Barry Meister and Alan Nero said in a statement.

The agents said they met in Phoenix on Monday with Diamondbacks chief executive officer Jeff Moorad and general manager Josh Byrnes "to explore every option for Randy to remain a Diamondback in 2009 and for the remainder of his career."

MARLINS TRADE KEVIN GREGG TO CUBS: The Chicago Cubs acquired reliever Kevin Gregg in a trade with the Florida Marlins on Thursday, a move that appears to end Kerry Wood's career with the team.

Wood, the 1998 NL Rookie of the Year who saved 34 games this year, had been the longest-tenured player on the Cubs. General manager Jim Hendry said Wood was deserving of a three- or four-year deal and the Cubs are not prepared to offer him one.

In addition to the right-handed Gregg, who was the Marlins' closer until the final month last season, Chicago also has a talented setup man in Carlos Marmol, who could close.