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Johnson trade is nearly a go, again

Randy Johnson is practically ready to be measured for one tall set of pinstripes.

Commissioner Bud Selig gave his blessing Monday to a trade that will send the 6-10 left-hander to the Yankees, making a contract extension the last major obstacle to be resolved in the drawn-out Arizona-New York swap.

New York was given a 72-hour window to come to terms with the five-time Cy Young Award winner. Johnson's current deal pays him $16-million in 2005 and expires after this season.

The Diamondbacks would receive right-hander Javier Vazquez, left-hander Brad Halsey, catching prospect Dioner Navarro and $9-million to be paid over three years.

Arizona also agreed to a trade that would send Navarro and other prospects to the Dodgers for Shawn Green and $8-million. The outfielder was part of a three-team, 10-player swap involving Johnson and the Yankees that collapsed Dec. 21 when Los Angeles backed out.

Selig granted the Diamondbacks a window to work out an extension for Green, who will make $16-million this year, then can become a free agent. The windows for both trades begin today and end at noon Friday, Diamondbacks managing partner Ken Kendrick said.

"There are obviously two separate transactions, and each has a variety of conditions that need to be met," Kendrick said. "It starts a window of time wherein contractual matters need to be resolved, between the Yankees and Randy, and us and Randy, and us and Shawn Green.

"And then, finally, a whole array of physical exams need to take place, because of the number of players involved."

Barry Meister, one of Johnson's agents, said he was awaiting official notification from the commissioner's office before commenting.

Johnson, 41, led the majors with 290 strikeouts and was second with a 2.60 ERA, but the Diamondbacks scored two or fewer in 17 of his 35 starts and saddled him with a 16-14 record.

Meanwhile, former Devil Ray Tanyon Sturtze and the Yankees agreed on a one-year contract that guarantees the right-hander $1-million.

METS, BELTRAN TALK: Four Mets executives traveled to Puerto Rico to meet with Carlos Beltran, a major step in New York's push to sign another prized free agent. General manager Omar Minaya and owner Fred Wilpon were among those who flew to San Juan to visit with the centerfielder, agent Scott Boras and Boras' associate, Mike Fiore. Senior vice president of baseball operations Jim Duquette and special assistant Tony Bernazard also made the trip.

ORIOLES: Pitcher Sidney Ponson, who has been jailed by police in Aruba since a Christmas beach altercation, is scheduled to appear before a judge this morning for the first time since his detainment and could be released, his lawyer, Chris Lejuez, said. Ponson was taken into custody after being accused of punching a man, later identified as a local judge.

OBITUARY: Rex Bowen, the scout who signed Bill Mazeroski, Maury Wills and Dick Groat, died Thursday in New Smyrna Beach. He was 93. Mr. Bowen joined the Pirates as a scout in 1950 and was promoted to scouting director in 1959. He was a special assistant to the general manager in Cincinnati from 1968-90. In 2000, Baseball America chose him as one of the top 10 scouts of the 1900s.

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