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Ochocinco to Johnson? How about some real news

Super Bowl-at-rest week.

Besides Bud Adams' belated firing of Jeff Fisher, the only things masquerading as football news are Chad Ochocinco's decision to change his last name back to Johnson and 48-year old retired running back Herschel Walker, apparently forgetting how much a torn hamstring hurts, is toying with the idea of making a comeback.

It's time for a baseball column.

Brian Cashman, the Yankees' general manager, who was against the signing of free agent relief pitcher Rafael Soriano as an eighth-inning bridge to venerable closer Mariano Rivera, reportedly displeased the Steinbrenner brothers. Hal and Hank are also displeased with what they view as a serious jump the Red Sox managed to get on their team during the offseason.

Hal Steinbrenner told the New York Post "We better bleepity win." Papa George would have been proud.

Cashman also revealed to the media that Derek Jeter, long a Yankee icon, is likely to trade in his shortstop credentials and play the outfield sometime during the rich, four-year contract he just signed. Jeter turns 37 in May, but it is unusual, to say the least, to announce that a Yankee as great as Jeter has been would make such a startling move years ahead of time.

The Yankees already announced that catching icon Jorge Posada will be more of a designated hitter this year after they obtained Toronto-area native Russell Martin from the Dodgers to replace Posada in the field. Martin doesn't have the pop in his bat which Posada possesses but his intensity and team leadership are supposed to even that switch.

Meanwhile there has been major movement in the rest of the American League East. The Tampa Bay Rays, one of the most interesting teams in baseball for the last few years, are trying to convince their clientele that getting older is the same as getting better, or possibly staying even. After dumping a carload of stars, the Rays raided Creaky Legs Rest Home to sign Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez.

Not to be outdone, the Toronto Blue Jays, who finished first in the majors in home runs but just ninth in runs scored, dealt longtime outfield star Vernon Wells to the Los Angeles Angels. Wells has had a couple of so-so seasons but he's only 32.

The Jays received Juan Rivera and catcher Mike Napoli in the deal then sent the latter to Texas for former closer Frank Francisco. Toronto's prize is Jose Bautista, the major-league home run king in 2010, but he hit just 13 dingers the previous season. The Jays' moves look more like payroll paring.

The National League? We'll miss Bobby Cox managing Atlanta and Joe Torre any place. Maybe the Giants will win their second World Series in 56 years but remember that the Phillies' pitching now starts with Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee.

Larry Felser, former News sports columnist, appears in Sunday's editions.

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