Star-Bulletin Sports

Tuesday, February 2, 1999

M A J O R _ L E A G U E _ B A S E B A L L

Ex-’Bow Johnson
traded to Yankees

By Al Chase


Mark Johnson is on the move again, this time to the World Series champion New York Yankees.

The 6-foot-3, 215-pound right-hander received a telephone call about noon yesterday from his agent Jeff Morrad with the news.

The Yankees had traded third baseman Mike Lowell to the Florida Marlins for Johnson, left-handed pitcher Ed Yarnall and right-handed pitcher Todd Noel.

"The Yankees are definitely one of the best organizations in baseball. It's a stacked major league roster, but it's just another path I'll have to follow to get to the majors," Johnson said following his daily workout at Rainbow Stadium.

It's the second consecutive off-season trade involving the former Hawaii Rainbow standout. In December 1997, he was traded to the Marlins as part of the deal that sent outfielder Moises Alou to the Houston Astros.

The Astros had selected Johnson in the first round (19th overall) of the 1996 amateur free agent draft.

Johnson pitched for the Portland (Me.) Sea Dogs, Florida's Double A team in the Eastern League, in 1998. He was 5-14 with a 4.62 earned run average and led the team with 120 strikeouts.

"At least I won't have to hit," Johnson said. "I think I had one hit last year. I didn't even get to bunt because we never had men on base.

"It's exciting. It's my third team in three years, kind of like a late wedding present."

Johnson and Hawaii Kai resident Kelley Fujimoto were married Jan. 16.

If Johnson remains at the Double A level with the Yankees, he would play for Norwich, Conn., in the Eastern League. If he goes to Triple A Columbus, Ohio, in the International League, he would be about an hour from his home in Springboro, Ohio.

FETTERS WITH O'S: Free agent Mike Fetters, the former Iolani School star, signed a one-year, minor league contact with the Baltimore Orioles yesterday.

The right-handed closer pitched for Oakland and Anaheim in 1998 and admits he picked a bad time to have his worst major league season. He tore his left calf muscle in his second appearance last season and never fully recovered.

"The Orioles sent a scout out here to watch me throw. They've given me the opportunity to make the club. Basically, it's make the club or get released," Fetters said from his Arizona home.

"I know the reports said I had lost some of my velocity. I'm healthy now, throwing well and in shape. This is a chance to show people who thought I was washed up they were wrong."

Fetters has talked with Orioles' manager Ray Miller and is assured he will get a decent chance to make Baltimore's 25-man, opening day roster. He's also contacted fellow pitcher Jesse Orosco about what's expected in the organization.

"No facial hair. That will kill me," said Fetters, "but I'm excited and can't wait to get to spring training. The only difference is I have to be ready at the start, not use spring training to get ready."

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