<
>

Johnson calls speculation pointless

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.

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 7½ 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."