Johnson calls speculation pointless

Updated: June 16, 2004, 8:55 AM ET
Associated Press

PHOENIX -- With the New York Yankees in town, Randy Johnson addressed the persistent speculation that he might find himself wearing pinstripes in the Big Apple.

Randy Johnson
Starting Pitcher
Arizona Diamondbacks
14 94.1 9-4 23 109 2.77

He didn't shut the door on the possibility he might someday accept a trade from the Arizona Diamondbacks, who insist they have no intention of dealing him to New York -- or anywhere else.

"Right now, I've not been approached by either team," Johnson said before Tuesday night's series opener between the two teams that met in the 2001 World Series. "It's kind of pointless. It's almost the same question being asked in spring training? 'How many more years am I going to play?'

"How can I address a question like that that's something down the road?"

Later, in the clubhouse, Johnson said he'd thought of a one-liner he wished he'd have used.

"I should have said, 'Yeah, but the clam chowder is better in Boston,' " said Johnson, who won't pitch in the three-game series against the Yankees.

In recent weeks, various newspaper columns and sports radio shows have raised the possibility of Johnson going to the Yankees at some point.

Diamondbacks officials repeatedly have said they would have no interest in trading Johnson. If that's the case, the only way it could happen is if Johnson wants to leave Arizona to pitch with the mighty club he helped defeat in 2001.

Johnson, his wife and their four children live in the Phoenix suburb of Paradise Valley.

Johnson is in the first of a two-year, $33 million contract extension he signed with Arizona. After undergoing surgery on his right knee last year, he has come back strong at age 40.

Johnson has won six in a row, beginning with his perfect game May 18 in Atlanta and at 9-4 is tied with fellow old-timers Roger Clemens and Kenny Rogers for the most wins in the majors. His 109 strikeouts lead the majors and his 2.25 ERA is fourth-best in the National League.

"You know what's even better than the fact he's performed so well is that he's had the desire to perform so well," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "Normally when you get to a certain age, you sort of lose that hunger, especially when you're established like he is.

"He and Roger Clemens both have shown these players that it's not really over until it becomes boring. It certainly hasn't become boring. I think it's marvelous what he's done."

Despite Johnson's outstanding season, Arizona entered Tuesday night's contest 11 games below .500 and 7 back in the NL West.

"Randy has been a great pitcher for a few organizations in his career, but it's hard for me to picture him in any other uniform than a D-Back," Arizona manager Bob Brenly said. "Like I said earlier, if we don't have Randy on the staff this year, I don't care what division you're in, it would be considerably uglier than it is right now.

"I don't even want to think about the possibility."

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press