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Yanks lose out on Nady to Cubs; Damon likely to A's

Xavier Nady and the Chicago Cubs have

Xavier Nady and the Chicago Cubs have reached preliminary agreement on a one-year, $3.3 million contract. (March 22, 2009) Credit: AP

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - They couldn't match the drama of their crosstown rival Mets, who saw Ben Sheets and Jon Garland sign elsewhere Tuesday. But the Yankees did lose out on a top option to round out their outfield.

And another option, Johnny Damon, appears closer to leaving the Yankees.

Xavier Nady, who played in seven games for the 2009 Yankees before going down with a right elbow injury that ultimately required Tommy John surgery, agreed to terms on a one-year, $3.3-million deal with the Cubs, pending a physical.

The Yankees' first choice now, as a righthanded complement to Brett Gardner, appears to be free agent Reed Johnson, 33, who has a career .841 OPS (.378 on-base percentage, .463 slugging percentage) against lefty pitching. Rocco Baldelli, formerly of Tampa Bay and Boston, is another possibility.

Damon, whom the Yankees stopped regarding seriously once they signed Nick Johnson, is engaged in talks with the Athletics and one other club, a person familiar with the situation said. But Oakland, having signed Sheets Tuesday, appears intent on adding Damon to make the team a bona fide contender in the American League West. Damon played for the A's in 2001 and helped Oakland make the playoffs.

The Yankees made a trade Tuesday, dealing infielder Mitch Hilligoss to Texas for minor-league outfielder Greg Golson, who will give the team outfield depth. The 24-year-old spent the 2009 season with the Rangers' Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City, putting up a .299 on-base percentage and .344 slugging percentage in 500 plate appearances. He struck out in his only plate appearance for the Rangers.

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