A day after trading A.J. Burnett, the New York Yankees used some of the salary they saved to add Raul Ibañez as their left-handed designated hitter.
Ibañez, who had two stints with the Mariners and last played in Seattle in 2008, and the Yankees agreed to a $1.1 million, one-year contract that includes $2.9 million in performance bonuses.
“He’s a guy that’s hit right-handers very well over his career, can still play the outfield,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said, without confirming the agreement.
“Has been a productive player if you look over the last 10 years.”
Ibañez is a 39-year-old outfielder who played with Philadelphia the past three seasons and hit .245 in 2011 with 20 homers and 84 RBI. New York decided on him over Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui, who also are free agents.
The Burnett trade saves the team $13 million because the Pirates will pay $5 million of the pitcher’s salary this year and $8 million in 2013.
GLAD TO JOIN PIRATES
Burnett, speaking to reporters at Pirates training camp in Bradenton, Fla., said he was happy to escape from New York.
“It was fun the first couple of years. Then it got like, I’m never going to get out of this funk,” he said.
After signing an $82.5 million, five-year contract, Burnett helped the Yankees to their 27th World Series title in 2009. Then he slumped to a 21-26 record with a 5.20 ERA over the following two seasons. He led the major leagues with 25 wild pitches last year and allowed a career-high 31 homers.
“It’s going to be a fresh start,” Burnett said. “It’s going to be fun. I’m going back to the National League, where I can hit and bunt and get the joy back into the game.”
MANNY, A’S CLOSE
Manny Ramirez is close to signing a contract with the Oakland Athletics that would be worth approximately $500,000, a source said.
The A’s made public their interest in the 12-time All-Star, who must serve a 50-game suspension for his second positive drug test before he can play for Oakland. Barring rainouts, his first game could be May 30 – his 40th birthday.
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said he expects National League MVP Ryan Braun to arrive in time for the team’s first practice on Saturday. The Brewers may hear this week whether arbitrator Shyam Das will uphold Braun’s 50-game suspension for a positive drug test. … Nationals manager Davey Johnson said pitcher Stephen Strasburg will be limited to 150-160 innings this season. … Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson is being checked for a possible concussion after blowing a tire on his way to the first workout.