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New York Yankees sign Ibanez to 1-year-deal

By Erik Boland

Newsday (MCT)

Published: Monday, Feb. 20 2012 5:41 p.m. MST

TAMPA, Fla. _ The Yankees have their designated hitter against righties.

With the deal involving A.J. Burnett becoming official Sunday night, Monday morning, the Yankees signed Raul Ibanez to a one-year deal worth $1.1 million in a move that had been long expected.

The 39-year-old Ibanez, who must first pass a physical before the deal is announced, had a down season with the Phillies in 2011, though he still hit 20 homers and drove in 84 runs in 144 games.

He is expected to be in Tampa by Wednesday.

"He's a guy that's hit righthanders very well over his career, can still play the outfield," manager Joe Girardi said, speaking generally of Ibanez because the deal isn't official. "Has been a productive player if you look over the last 10 years ... so he's a guy that we definitely have a lot of interest in."

Ibanez, a career .280 hitter with a .342 OBP, slipped to .245, .289 last season. Last season against righthanders, he hit .256 with a .307 OBP, hitting 16 of his homers and producing 60 of his RBIs in 402 of his 535 at-bats.

When asked Sunday what he was looking for in a DH, general manager Brian Cashman said, "Optimally, I would like to find a lefthanded bat with a defensive component."

Though Cashman didn't mention Ibanez specifically, for weeks it's been no secret he was the organization's top choice to fill the role. But Cashman had to wait for the Burnett trade to go through before signing the outfielder/DH.

Girardi said he still would like a little more depth, which very well could come in the form of the team re-signing Eric Chavez as a reserve infielder, something Cashman said he's interested in doing.

(c)2012 Newsday

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