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 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.
More pro baseball: Jays close to getting Morrow for League
A baseball official familiar with the talks says the Toronto Blue Jays are close to acquiring former No. 1 draft choice Brandon Morrow from the Seattle Mariners for fellow reliever Brandon League and a prospect.
More pro baseball: Atkins, Orioles finalize $4.5 million, one-year deal
The Orioles were relentless in their pursuit of Garrett Atkins because they were confident the third baseman could rebound from a surprisingly poor 2009 season.
Atkins can't wait to prove them right.
The 30-year-old had spent his entire seven-year major league career with the Rockies and became a free agent Dec. 13 after Colorado failed to offer a 2010 contract. Baltimore president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail began wooing Atkins on that same day.
More pro baseball: Oliver, Rangers finalize $3.5M, one-year deal
Reliever Darren Oliver and the Texas Rangers have finalized a $3.5 million, one-year contract that includes a club option for 2011.
After spending the past three seasons with the Los Angeles Angels, Oliver starts his third stint with Texas. The 39-year-old left-hander began his career with the Rangers, pitching for them from 1993-98. He was back with Texas from 2000-01.
More pro football: Steelers sign WR Galloway in place of Sweed
Wide receiver Joey Galloway has been added to the Pittsburgh Steelers' roster as the replacement for Limas Sweed.
Sweed was placed on injured reserve Monday with a non-football related illness. Coach Mike Tomlin would not reveal any details of Sweed's condition.
"I think it's appropriate right now that we say very little in regard to his personal issues," Tomlin said. "He has our full support. Anything else I say will be in regards to protecting his privacy."
Galloway was cut by New England earlier this season after catching seven passes for 67 yards. The former Ohio State receiver has 689 catches for a 15.6 average during an NFL career that began in 1995, but he hasn't had a TD catch since making six for Tampa Bay in 2007.
More pro football: Bills place CB McGee on IR; re-sign QB Hamdan
Bills cornerback Terrence McGee is done for the season, and it's suddenly unclear who'll start at quarterback this weekend after injuries forced Buffalo to re-sign former third-stringer Gibran Hamdan.
McGee was placed on injured reserve a day before he's scheduled to have surgery to repair his right rotator cuff. The starter becomes the 16th Bills player placed on the season-ending list after he was hurt in a 17-10 loss to New England.
The move was expected after a person familiar with the injury told The Associated Press that McGee is scheduled to have surgery this week. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the team has not announced the surgery.
Pro basketball: Thunder acquire rookie in trade with Jazz
The Oklahoma City Thunder are shaking up their backup point guard position, acquiring rookie Eric Maynor in a trade with the Utah Jazz.
Maynor, the 20th overall pick in this year's draft, was averaging 5.2 points and 3.1 assists in 26 games with the Jazz this season.
The Jazz will get the rights to 2002 draft pick Peter Fehse, who has never played in the NBA.
Oklahoma City also agreed to take on the contract of injured veteran Matt Harpring, who won't actually join the Thunder.
College football: USC preparing for Emerald Bowl without McKnight
Southern California coach Pete Carroll is preparing for Saturday's Emerald Bowl with the thought that leading rusher Joe McKnight won't be able to play.
McKnight is in Los Angeles dealing with paperwork following an investigation into whether he improperly used an SUV registered to a local businessman.
"There have been some raised issues that the compliance office is taking very seriously," Carroll said at a news conference for the bowl game against Boston College.
More college football: Suh scores one for the D as AP Player of the Year
Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh bulled past the guys who play the glamour positions and proved you don't have to score touchdowns or toss passes to be the player of the year.
Spurred by a dominant performance against Texas in the Big 12 title game, Suh became the first defensive player voted The Associated Press College Football Player of the Year.
Suh had already won two defensive player of the year awards — the Nagurski and Bednarik — and two for best lineman — the Lombardi and Outland. He also finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting.
More college football: Bowden 'disappointed' about leaving a year early
Bobby Bowden said that while he wanted to coach another year at Florida State, "that was out" as an option.
Bowden announced his retirement Dec. 1 — a day after expressing a desire to coach in 2010 during a meeting with university officials.
"I wanted to, but that was out," he told The Associated Press as he motored his golf cart onto Florida State's practice field for the final time. "I'm disappointed, but that wears off."
Jimbo Fisher will officially become FSU's new coach on Jan. 5. ... UNLV hired Montana's Bobby Hauck as its next football coach, less than a week after he coached the Grizzlies in the FCS national championship game.
A person with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press about UNLV's selection of Hauck. The person requested anonymity because he was not authorized to make an official announcement.
Boxing: Pacquiao-Mayweather fight in jeopardy because of drug test
The megafight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. has been thrown into jeopardy.
Mayweather's camp is demanding the fighters submit to Olympic-type drug testing in the weeks leading up to the bout. Leonard Ellerbe, Mayweather's manager, says the fight will not go on if Pacquiao doesn't agree to blood testing under standards followed by the United States Anti Doping Agency.
Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum could not immediately be reached for comment.