Infielder joins San Diego on 1-year deal

San Diego Padres: The Padres agreed to terms Thursday with infielder Eric Young on a $1 million, one-year contract.

The deal includes an $850,000 salary next season gives the
Padres an $850,000 option for 2006 with a $1 million buyout. He can
earn an additional $700,000 in annual performance bonuses.

Young, 37, batted .288 with 25 doubles, 1 homer, 27 RBI, 55
runs scored and 14 stolen bases in 104 games with the Texas Rangers
in 2004.

He's fourth among active major leaguers with 450 steals. He
stole 50 or more bases in a season on three occasions.

Over parts of 13 seasons with the Dodgers, Rockies, Cubs, Brewers, Giants and the Rangers, Young has batted .285.

The Padres also designated left-handed pitcher Mike Bynum for assignment.

New York Yankees: Neil Allen was hired Thursday as the Yankees' bullpen coach.

Allen spent the past two seasons as the pitching coach at Triple-A Columbus. He is considered one of the top candidates to replace current Yankees pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre when he retires.

Stottlemyre agreed Nov. 10 to return for his 10th season under manager Joe Torre and said he plans to retire after the 2005 season.

Under Allen, Columbus led the International League with eight complete games and 12 shutouts last season. He spent 11 years pitching in the majors, including stints with both the Yankees and New York Mets, going 58-70 with 75 saves.

Allen replaces Rich Monteleone, who will return as a special pitching instructor after spending three seasons as the Yankees' bullpen coach.

New York also announced first base coach Roy White will return next season. The Yankees last month hired former catcher Joe Girardi as bench coach and catching instructor and announced batting coach Don Mattingly will return for a second season.

Luis Sojo will return as the third base coach. Rob Thomson is coming back for his second year as a special assignment instructor.

In other Yankees news, South Korean left-hander Koo Dae-sung is negotiating with the Yankees and was on hand at the team's minor-league complex in Tampa, Fla.

Koo, 35, was a member of South Korea's bronze medal-winning team at the Sydney Olympics and went 6-10 with a 4.32 ERA and 99 strikeouts last season for the Orix BlueWave of Japan's Pacific League with a 4.32 ERA and 99 strikeouts.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said the team had interest in Koo but that no agreement had been reached.

Milwaukee Brewers: To Doug Melvin, other major-league teams look beefed up.

"I think some of the payrolls are on steroids," the general manager of the lowest-spending team in the major leagues said Thursday.

Milwaukee had the lowest Opening Day payroll in the majors last year at $27.5 million, a tiny fraction of the Yankees' $183 million. With third baseman Alex Rodriguez and shortstop Derek Jeter, the Yankees spent more money of left side of their infield than the Brewers paid their entire roster.

Melvin will have more money and more flexibility soon. Los Angeles investment banker Mark Attanasio's $223 million bid to buy the Brewers from the family of commissioner Bud Selig is expected to be gain approval.

Melvin won't say how much more money he'll have at his disposal. Last year, he was upset when outgoing team president Ulice Payne Jr. gave other teams the upper hand in trade talks by publicly criticizing the Brewers' plan to trim payroll below $30 million.

Still, Melvin was able to pull off one of the most fruitful trades of the winter when he sent slugger Richie Sexson to Arizona for several major-leaguers and prospects.

This year, his wish list includes improving his infield defense, adding an outfielder and acquiring a couple young pitchers who could contribute in the majors right away.

Catching is the only area that's already set, following an $8.75 million, three-year agreement last month with free agent Damian Miller.

"Some people think we jumped the gun a little bit, but it was important we had him in place before the meetings. Catching is drying up," Melvin said Thursday before flying to the four-day winter meetings, which start Friday at Anaheim, Calif.