- The Washington Times - Friday, January 7, 2005

NEW YORK (AP) — All that stands between Randy Johnson and the New York Yankees are a bunch of medical tests.

The Big Unit and the Yankees reached a preliminary agreement yesterday on a two-year, $32 million contract extension, leaving only a physical as the final step needed to finishing the drawn-out process of finalizing the trade Arizona and the Yankees agreed to Dec. 30.

Johnson, a five-time Cy Young Award winner, waived his no-trade clause as part of the agreement negotiated by agents Barry Meister and Alan Nero, a baseball official and a person close to Johnson told the Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Arizona will receive pitchers Javier Vazquez and Brad Halsey, catcher Dioner Navarro and $9 million in the swap for the 41-year-old left-hander.

The Yankees, Diamondbacks and agents for the players were working on the logistics of arranging the medical exams, which probably won’t take place until next week. They also were working on paperwork to account for the perks in Johnson’s current contract, which calls for him to receive two courtside tickets for Phoenix Suns games through the 2010-11 season and six premium tickets for all Diamondbacks games starting with the first season of his retirement through 2010.

Johnson’s current deal, which is entering its final season, called for a $16 million salary in 2005, of which $6 million was deferred at 2 percent interest, with the money payable in 2010.

Johnson would join a starting rotation that includes Mike Mussina, Kevin Brown, Carl Pavano and Jaret Wright. Tanyon Sturtze is viewed as a possible sixth starter should Brown, who has had back problems, get hurt again.

New York also faces a Saturday deadline to re-sign designated hitter and backup outfielder Ruben Sierra.

“I talked to several teams and I talked to the Yankees today several times,” said his agent, Chuck Berry. “We’re making progress, but we’re still not there. I think Ruben likes the Yankees and has enjoyed his time there. That’s our primary focus. But, obviously, with Saturday coming around we are talking to other teams as well.”

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