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Representatives for Santana, Mets talk extension

NEW YORK -- Johan Santana's agent and the New York Mets went
to work on a contract extension Wednesday, the biggest step
remaining for the team to complete its blockbuster trade with
Minnesota.

Mets officials met with agent Peter Greenberg in Manhattan, but
neither side would divulge many details. The two-time Cy Young
Award winner is likely seeking a deal worth more than $120 million
over six or seven years. He and the Mets have until 5 p.m. EST
Friday to reach an agreement.

If that happens, as expected, Santana and the other players in
the trade would then have to pass physicals for the swap to be
finalized.

"Every team in the division became stronger, but now with
Santana we're the favorites again," Mets left fielder Moises Alou
said in the Dominican Republic.

The Mets have a good relationship with Greenberg, who already
represents two of their players: All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes and
reserve outfielder Endy Chavez.

New York general manager Omar Minaya declined comment through
club spokesman Jay Horwitz. Greenberg didn't return e-mails seeking
comment.

The Mets made a big splash Tuesday by reaching a tentative
agreement to acquire Santana from the Twins for four prospects:
speedy outfielder Carlos Gomez, and pitchers Philip Humber, Kevin
Mulvey and Deolis Guerra.

The news energized Mets fans who were still upset about the
team's historic collapse last September, and Minaya was lauded by
baseball analysts around the country. Many had thought New York
would have to give up more to land the ace left-hander.

"I can't really comment because it's not done. All I can say is
that the Twins did what they had to do," New York Yankees senior
vice president Hank Steinbrenner said in Tampa, Fla. "I hope it
works out well for them. The Mets made a good trade from their end.
Hopefully it works out for both teams."

Earlier this offseason, the Yankees also pursued Santana. They
offered pitcher Phil Hughes and center fielder Melky Cabrera as
part of a package, then pulled out of talks during the winter
meetings in December.

The World Series champion Boston Red Sox also made a bid for
Santana, proposing a deal that would have included outfielder
Jacoby Ellsbury or pitcher Jon Lester.

Santana, who turns 29 in March, can become a free agent after
this year's World Series and the Twins don't have the budget to
re-sign him. Minnesota offered him an $80 million, four-year
extension this offseason, but he turned it down.

Even without Santana, the Mets already have sold 1.75 million
tickets for their final season in Shea Stadium, up 100,000 from
this point last year, when they finished at a team-record 3.85
million.

"To have one of those handful that I would call an ace is
obviously special to a team that, offensively, we look good on
paper," Mets third baseman David Wright said Tuesday. "And our
pitching staff is very deep, especially with these young guys, and
they're only going to get better. So obviously there's a lot of
positive energy, if it's true, going into spring training."

Now, the Mets just need to finish the deal -- something they
couldn't do last season when Philadelphia roared from seven games
back with 17 to play and won the NL East, leaving New York out of
the playoffs.

Of course, giving a long-term contract to a pitcher can be
risky. Only three have gotten deals worth more than $100 million:
Barry Zito (San Francisco Giants), Mike Hampton (Colorado Rockies) and Kevin Brown
(Los Angeles Dodgers).

After helping the Mets reach their most recent World Series in
2000, Hampton bolted for a $121 million, eight-year contract with
the Rockies. He went 53-48 over the next five years with Colorado
and Atlanta and hasn't pitched in the majors since 2005 because of
injuries.

While the Mets tried to lock up Santana, they also added depth
to their bullpen Wednesday by claiming hometown pitcher Ruddy Lugo
off waivers from Oakland.

Lugo was 6-0 with a 5.40 ERA in 38 relief appearances with the
Athletics and Tampa Bay last season. Oakland claimed him off
waivers in June, then designated him for assignment Friday after
claiming outfielder Jeff Fiorentino off waivers from Cincinnati.

Lugo is 8-4 with a 4.39 ERA in 102 major league games. Control
has been his biggest problem -- he has 74 walks and 82 strikeouts in
133 1/3 innings.

Still, the 27-year-old right-hander has been effective for
extended stretches. He pitched in 64 games for Tampa Bay in 2006,
going 2-4 with a 3.81 ERA and allowing only four homers in 85
innings. He held opponents to a .210 batting average during his
final 24 appearances last year, finishing 4-0 with a 2.86 ERA.

The younger brother of Boston shortstop Julio Lugo, Ruddy was
selected by Milwaukee in the third round of the 1999 amateur draft.

He played at Xaverian High School in Brooklyn, leading the team
to the 1999 Catholic High School Athletic Association championship
by striking out 12 and scoring the winning run in the title game at
Shea Stadium.