The Yankees Friday acquired third baseman Robin Ventura from the Mets for outfielder David Justice in the most significant trade between the two New York baseball teams.
Mets General Manager Steve Phillips called it "a win-win trade for both teams."
The Yankees wanted Ventura, who is scheduled to make $8.25 million in 2002, as a one-year stopgap while they wait for prospect Drew Henson to take over the position. Scott Brosius, New York's third baseman since 1998, retired last month.
"With the departure of Scott Brosius, it was obvious that we had a void to fill at third base in 2002," said Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman. "It is our belief that Robin -- with his lefthanded bat and on-base average -- was our best option and we look forward to his contributions to our efforts this season."
Desperate for outfield power, the Mets were willing to take Justice and his $7 million salary for 2002 as long as they were able to get rid of Ventura's price tag.
Calmus wins Butkus Award
ORLANDO, Fla., Dec. 7 (UPI) -- Rocky Calmus of Oklahoma Friday won the Butkus Award, which recognizes the top linebacker in the country.
Also a finalist last year, Calmus is the first Sooner to capture the award since Brian Bosworth in 1985 and 1986. Bosworth is the only multiple winner.
The other finalists, pared from a list of 12 semifinalists, were Maryland junior E.J. Henderson and UCLA senior Robert Thomas.
The 6-3, 235-pound Calmus has 117 tackles, with 15 coming for losses, four sacks and an interception during his senior year for the 10-2 Sooners, who will face a Southeastern Conference team in the Orange Bowl on Jan.1.
Calmus also was a finalist for the Lombardi Award, which went to Julius Peppers of North Carolina. The Lombardi Award honors the nation's top lineman.
Closer said moving closer to home
BRISTOL, Conn., Dec. 7 (UPI) -- Jason Isringhausen, a top closer with Oakland the past two seasons, reportedly has chosen to move back home by signing a four-year, $27 million deal with the St. Louis Cardinals.
ESPN on Friday reported that the Illinois native has chosen St. Louis over the Texas Rangers. The Cardinals were unavailable for comment.
Rangers owner Tom Hicks had told the Dallas Morning News that Isringhausen had turned down a four-year offer worth $30 million in order to play nearer his hometown of Brighton.
Yankees sign reliever Karsay
NEW YORK, Dec.7 (UPI) -- The New York Yankees, hoping to fill a void that plagued them this past season, signed free agent reliever Steve Karsay Friday to a four-year contract with a club option for a fifth year.
Financial terms were not disclosed, but the deal is reportedly
worth more than $20 million, according to numerous reports.
Karsay, 29, will fill the hole of righthanded setup man that was never adequately addressed when Jeff Nelson left the team to sign a three-year, $10.65 million deal with the Seattle Mariners after the 2000 season.
Red Wings extend Lidstrom pact
DETROIT, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- The Detroit Red Wings Friday signed reigning Norris Trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom to a two-year contract extension through the 2003-04 season.
Financial terms were not disclosed. Lidstrom is in the final year of a three-year contract worth $21.75 million.
A native of Sweden, the 31-year-old Lidstrom won the Norris Trophy honoring the NHL's top defenseman last season after finishing as a runner-up for the honor each of the previous three years.
The early leader in balloting for the NHL's World All-Star team, the 6-2, 190-pound Lidstrom has three goals and 19 assists with a plus-10 rating in 29 games this season. Detroit owns the best record in the NHL at 22-5-1-1.
Tennessee's big chance
By United Press International
Tennessee needs one more win on Saturday to make it to the Rose Bowl and the national championship game.
Only Louisiana State stands in the way of the second-ranked Vols and a Jan. 3 date with unbeaten, No. 1 Miami for the title.
Tennessee (10-1) faces No. 20 LSU (8-3) in the Southeastern Conference title game Saturday at Atlanta's Georgia Dome. A win puts Tennessee in the big game. A loss creates a problem and that possibility has held up final selections for the Orange, Sugar and Fiesta Bowls as well. All pairings will be announced Sunday.
A Tennessee loss likely would put Nebraska (11-1), third in the Bowl Championship Series standings, in the title game despite the 62-36 drubbing it took Thanksgiving weekend from Colorado which knocked the Cornhuskers out of the Big 12 race.
In the only other major game Saturday, undefeated, No. 8 Brigham Young (12-0) tries to make it a perfect season at Hawaii. But,BYU, 12th in the BCS standings because of its schedule, does not figure in the Rose Bowl chase and will instead play Louisville in the Liberty Bowl New Year's Eve.
Maryland (10-1) will play in the Orange Bowl for the first time since 1956 while Illinois (10-1) is headed to the Sugar Bowl. Their opponents, most likely Nebraska and Colorado (9-2) if Tennessee wins, will be determined Sunday, as will the participants in the Fiesta Bowl.
Playoffs have Southern flavor
By United Press International
Saturday's Division 1-AA football playoff quarterfinal round has a definite Southern flavor about it. Southern Conference, that is.
The conference has three teams teams in the eight-team mix, including a second meeting this year of league rivals Georgia Southern (11-1), a two-time national champion and the home team, and Appalachian State (9-3).
Further, Southern co-champion Furman (10-2) hosts unbeaten Lehigh (11-0).
Top-seeded Montana (12-1), which lost to Georgia Southern,
27-25, in last year's championship game, hopes to move one step closer to a possible rematch when it welcomes Sam Houston State (10-2) to Missoula.
In Saturday's other quarterfinal, Maine (9-2) visits Northern Iowa (10-2), which upset No. 4 Eastern Illinois, 49-43, in the first round last week. Eastern Illinois was the only one of the top four seeds to fall in the opening round.
Heisman too close to call
NEW YORK, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- The only thing certain about Saturday's Heisman Trophy presentation is the winner will be a quarterback.
Beyond that, the race for the 67th Heisman is too close to call.
Crouch and Dorsey were honored in a preliminary awards ceremony Thursday night. Crouch won the Walter Camp Award as player of the year and the Davey O'Brien Award as the year's best quarterback.
Dorsey won the Maxwell Trophy as the best all-around player of the year.
The Heisman presentation will take place at the New York Marriott Marquis in Times Square instead of at the Downtown Athletic Club, which was damaged in the Sept.11 terrorist attacks.