Omar Minaya rejoined the Mets as their general manager yesterday, charged with turning around a team that has finished last or next-to-last in the NL East each of the past three seasons.

Minaya, also given the title of executive vice president of baseball operations, spent the last three years as GM of the Expos. Before that, he was the Mets' senior assistant general manager for three seasons.

He is the first Hispanic general manager in the major leagues.

Minaya turned down an offer to return to the Mets a year ago, when he was offered shared authority with Jim Duquette, who succeeded Steve Phillips as GM in 2003.

New York, fourth in the five-team NL East at 70-89, already announced it is firing manager Art Howe midway through a $9.4 million, four-year contract. The Mets, a World Series team as recently as 2000, were last in their division the previous two years.

Duquette's new title will be senior vice president of baseball operations, and he will report to Minaya.

* DUNN SETS WHIFF RECORD: Reds slugger Adam Dunn set the major league record for strikeouts in one season with 190, when he fanned in his first two at-bats against the Cubs.

Dunn struck out against Chicago starter Mark Prior in the second and fourth innings, breaking the previous mark for whiffs of 189 set by Bobby Bonds in 1970. Dunn struck out swinging in his first at-bat and looking in his second. He got No. 191 by striking out a third time against Prior in the seventh.

"At least that is one Bonds I have a record over," Dunn said.

* BLUE JAYS OPTIMISTIC: A day after Commissioner Bud Selig announced the Expos will move to Washington, Blue Jays President Paul Godfrey said Toronto's finances were solid and the team will remain in Canada.

"Are we looking in the mirror and seeing the picture of the Montreal Expos? No, I'm not too concerned about that," Godfrey said.

-- From News Services