Sports

Vazquez back in N.Y. in trade for Cabrera

When Javier Vazquez last threw a pitch for the New York Yankees, it was a nadir in the team’s storied history. He gave up two homers to Johnny Damon, including a key grand slam, as the Yankees lost Game 7 of the 2004 AL championship series to Boston.

Now Vazquez is back, acquired Tuesday from the Atlanta Braves for outfielder Melky Cabrera as New York tweaks its championship roster in an effort to win back-to-back titles.

“Hopefully, I can erase those memories,” Vazquez said.

And while Vazquez has returned to fortify a rotation headed by CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte, there still appears to be no room on the 2010 Yankees for Damon, a key to this year’s World Series win.

General manager Brian Cashman said he didn’t intend to add another “high-end player” with “dollars attached on a large scale.” That would appear to exclude Damon, who turned down the Yankees’ $14 million, two-year offer last week and countered at $20 million as the team was reaching an agreement with Nick Johnson to become its designated hitter.

Coming off a $52 million, four-year contract, Damon hasn’t lowered his price enough for suddenly budget-conscious New York.

In a trade that pushed New York’s payroll for next season over $200 million, the Yankees also obtained left-hander Boone Logan and sent the Braves a pair of pitching prospects, left-hander Mike Dunn and right-hander Arodys Vizcaino, along with about $500,000.

Marquis finalizes deal

Jason Marquis says he’s ready to fill the role of veteran leader for a young Washington Nationals pitching staff.The right-hander signed a $15 million, two-year contract.

Short hops

Third baseman Garrett Atkins and the Orioles finalized their $4.5 million, one-year contract ... Former Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay took out a full-page newspaper advertisement thanking the city of Toronto and the team’s fans. ... The New York Mets are nearing agreement on a minor league contract with former Mariners knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. ... Reliever Darren Oliver and the Texas Rangers finalized a $3.5 million, one-year contract that includes a club option for 2011. ... Major League Baseball and its umpires completed negotiations for a new labor contract and are likely to announce an agreement today.

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