U.S. Reps. Dennis Kucinich and Ted Poe are urging the Obama administration to demand that Citigroup drop its $400 million, 20-year naming rights deal for Citi Field, the New York Mets' new stadium scheduled to open in April, because of $45 billion the bank received in government aid.

"At Citigroup, 50,000 people will lose their jobs. Yet in the boardroom of Citigroup, spending $400 million to put a name on stadium seems like a good idea," said Kucinich, an Ohio Democrat.

Citigroup reached its agreement with the Mets 3 years ago. It is among several American banks that have received financial assistance from the federal government in recent months.

Both the Mets and Citigroup called Citi Field a done deal.

Meanwhile, pitcher John Maine and the Mets avoided salary arbitration, agreeing on a $2.6 million, 1-year contract.

Noteworthy

* Former Yankees pitcher C.J. Nitkowski was interviewed nearly 2 weeks ago by federal agents as part of their investigation into whether Roger Clemens committed perjury when he denied using performance-enhancing drugs.

Nitkowski never played with Clemens, but worked out with him and Andy Pettitte with trainer Brian McNamee - Clemens' primary accuser - at the seven-time Cy Young Award winner's home in Houston.

* The Red Sox reportedly reached preliminary agreement with catcher Jason Varitek for $5 million for 2009, and a player option of $3 million or a team option of $5 million for 2010.

* Lefthander Paul Maholm avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $14.5 million, 3-year contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates, who also finalized a $1.5 million, 1-year deal with free-agent Eric Hinske.

* The Rangers re-signed outfielder Marlon Byrd to a 1-year deal worth $3.06 million. *