Big Apple twinbill: Beltran in the morning, Johnson in the afternoon

Friday, January 14th 2005, 6:39 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ Carlos Beltran and Randy Johnson were set for a unique doubleheader in New York on Tuesday.

The Mets scheduled a morning news conference at Shea Stadium to announce their $119 million, seven-year contract with Beltran, and the Yankees had an afternoon session set up in the Bronx to say they have acquired Johnson from the Arizona Diamondbacks.

``That's the nature of the beast,'' Los Angeles general manager Paul DePodesta said Monday. ``I think we're going to have one of the higher payrolls in baseball. I'm certainly not going to grouse about what they have in New York. We have more than enough here.''

Before their deal with Beltran, the Mets gave three-time Cy Young Award winner Pedro Martinez a $53 million, four-year contract and kept Kris Benson for $22.5 million over three years.

The Yankees, who turned down the chance to sign Beltran to a $100 million, six-year deal, added pitchers Carl Pavano ($39.95 million over four years) and Jaret Wright ($21 million over three years), then agreed to pay $9 million to Arizona as part of the Johnson trade and give the Big Unit a $32 million, two-year extension through 2007.

``I have seen, as I have sat in this chair for the last 25 years, a lot of things that have been written about and talked about,'' Atlanta Braves general manager John Schuerholz said. ``What we do is keep our eyes, so to speak, on our own ball and do what is best for our team. If we do our job, it doesn't matter what anybody else does. That's always our focus every year.''

In other baseball news Monday, Toronto agreed to a $900,000, one-year contract with reliever Billy Koch, Los Angeles reached a preliminary agreement on a $650,000 deal with catcher Paul Bako, Florida gave a $475,000 deal to left-hander Matt Perisho, Pittsburgh agreed to a minor league contract with pitcher Todd Ritchie and Cleveland closed in on a minor league contract with outfielder Juan Gonzalez.

The Mets finalized their $900,000, one-year deal with infielder Miguel Cairo and agreed to a $2.1 million, one-year contract with right-hander Victor Zambrano, avoiding arbitration.

In a trade agreed to on Dec. 30, the Yankees are sending pitchers Javier Vazquez and Brad Halsey, catcher Dioner Navarro and $9 million to Arizona.

Vazquez passed his physical with the Diamondbacks on Monday night. Navarro had to take two physicals Monday _ one for Arizona and one for Los Angeles, which is acquiring him as part of a separate deal.

Los Angeles is receiving Navarro and three other prospects from the Diamondbacks for outfielder Shawn Green and $10 million. Green also passed his physical with Arizona and was scheduled to be introduced at a news conference on Tuesday.

He and the Diamondbacks reached an agreement in principle Sunday on a $32 million, three-year contract, which allows that trade to be finalized. Then the Dodgers plan to complete their $36 million, four-year contract with free-agent pitcher Derek Lowe.

On the way to his physical Monday, Johnson got into a confrontation on a Manhattan sidewalk with a television cameraman.

He put his long right arm up to block a camera from WCBS-TV after he left his Manhattan hotel.

Johnson, who was accompanied by Yankees director of team security Jerry Laveroni, made contact with the camera, station spokeswoman Audrey Pass said.

``Get out of my face, that's all I ask,'' Johnson said, according to a video posted on the station's Web site.

``No cameras,'' Laveroni said.

``Don't get in my face,'' Johnson then said. ``I don't care who you are. Don't get in my face.''

``I'm just taking a picture,'' said the cameraman, identified by the station as Vinny Everett.

Responded Johnson: ``Don't get in my face, and don't talk back to me, all right.''

Johnson issued a statement through agent Alan Nero that was distributed by the Yankees.

``Regarding the unfortunate incident that happened this morning as I was on my way to take a physical, I hope that everyone will understand that the past few days have been a bit overwhelming and I wish I had handled the situation differently,'' Johnson said. ``I am very sorry it happened.''