Call it The Luxury Tax Series, if you’d like. Or maybe call it The Series of the Year.

Whatever, it’s a biggie and it starts Friday, when the two most expensive teams in the major leagues clash for five critical games.


And the Boston Red Sox are scrambling in hopes of fortifying their pitching staff for the New York Yankees.

They’re even interested in a struggling reliever with the Blue Jays. Scott Schoeneweis, who entered last night with a 2-2 record and a 6.51 earned-run average, cleared waivers this week and thus could join the Sox in time for the weekend series if Boston management can agree on a deal with the Jays.

The Sox also have their sights set on Baltimore reliever LaTroy Hawkins, who has cleared waivers himself.

• Arizona hopes to send ex-Jays star Shawn Green to the Mets in the next few days, but New York wants the Diamondbacks to eat part of the $9.5-million US the outfielder is guaranteed next season. Also, Green must waive his no-trade right, something I’m told he’s quite willing to do to get out of Arizona and into the post-season with the Mets ... The Mets also are talking to Houston about outfielder Preston Wilson, demoted to Triple A the other day largely because of his penchant for striking out. Wilson is the stepson of former Mets star (and former Jays favourite) Mookie Wilson ... Shea Hillenbrand, recently exiled out of Toronto’s doghouse to the Giants, isn’t doing much in San Fran, but he sure likes his new digs better. Appearing on Fox Sports Radio this week, Hillenbrand criticized the Jays’ atmosphere, saying it’s “kind of a laid-back fraternity, mess-around atmosphere. It was tough to play in that atmosphere. Then coming out here on the West Coast is a breath of fresh air.”

• Joe Paterno got women’s groups fuming at him when he made some silly remarks about rape last winter, but, at 79, he’s survived again and he’s back for his 41st season as Penn State’s football coach. Here’s some of what he has had to say to reporters in training camp:

On the fragility of life: “I do a lot of walking, and every once in a while, I step on an ant. And I say to myself, ‘You know, we ain’t nothing but ants.’”

On the proliferation of online recruiting websites: “I don’t have a computer. I don’t fool around with websites. And I don’t get into this, what do you call it, text messages?”

And on new CBS news anchor Katie Couric: “Katie who?”

• Casey Printers is struggling so far as he tries out with the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs, and football sources tell me he has gone from potential second-stringer behind Trent Green to a probable cut. And so CFL clubs, hungry for quarterbacks, are preparing to get into a hot and heavy bidding war for Printers’ services. Printers, remember, was the CFL’s outstanding player in 2004. The only CFL club that wouldn’t be interested in signing him? B.C., where he excelled.

Marty York’s column appears Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.