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Yankees RHP Rafael Soriano opts out of contract

Yankees RHP Rafael Soriano opts out of contract

Rafael Soriano turned out to be a vital insurance policy for the New York Yankees. Now, they might need a new one.

The fill-in closer opted out of the final year of his $35 million, three-year contract Wednesday and will likely seek a long-term deal in free agency. Soriano had 42 saves for the AL East champions last season after Mariano Rivera tore knee ligaments in early May.

Soriano was set to make $14 million next year and had until Wednesday to opt out. Instead, New York will pay him a $1.5 million buyout. The Yankees can make him a qualifying offer of $13.3 million before Friday's midnight deadline and if Soriano signs with another team, they will get draft compensation.

``I'm not surprised because (agent) Scott Boras told me he was confident he could get him 15 times four (years), $60 million. If that's the case, it would be a good deal for Soriano,'' Yankees president Randy Levine told The Associated Press. ``I hope that's what's real in the marketplace.''

Soriano, who will be 33 in December, signed his lucrative contract with New York before the 2011 season after saving a career-high 45 games for Tampa Bay. Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner overruled general manager Brian Cashman in making the deal after Cashman was opposed to it.

Soriano began his stint with the Yankees as a setup man, then took over as the closer after Rivera was injured and did an outstanding job. But his potential departure further complicates an uncertain situation at the back of New York's bullpen for 2013. Rivera, who turns 43 in November, vowed right after his injury to return next year, but recently said he isn't sure whether he will pitch again.

While Soriano appears poised to leave the Yankees, Ervin Santana is headed to Kansas City and Ryan Ludwick plans to test the open market.

The Royals made their first move toward shoring up their shaky rotation, acquiring Santana from the Los Angeles Angels for minor league reliever Brandon Sisk.

Santana was an All-Star in 2008 and threw a no-hitter in 2011, but struggled with the long ball this year. He allowed a major league-worst 39 homers and went 9-13 with a 5.16 ERA - although he showed improvement down the stretch.

``We were able to scout Ervin during the entire year, specifically the second half,'' Royals general manager Dayton Moore said. ``His August and September were really good. From a statistical standpoint, he was very good.''

As part of the deal, the Angels sent $1 million to Kansas City. Los Angeles had exercised its $13 million option on Santana's contract for next season before trading him to the Royals.

The Royals declined their $8 million option on closer Joakim Soria after he had elbow ligament-replacement surgery and missed last season. Soria will receive a $750,000 buyout.

Even though Soria, a two-time All-Star with 160 saves over five seasons, is a free agent, both sides have expressed interest in working out a new contract.

David Wright ($16 million) and R.A. Dickey ($5 million) had their contract options picked up by the New York Mets. General manager Sandy Alderson has said signing the two All-Stars to long-term deals is his top priority this offseason.

Tampa Bay exercised options on pitcher James Shields ($9.5 million), closer Fernando Rodney ($2.5 million) and catcher Jose Molina ($1.5 million). The Rays declined a $6 million option on designated hitter Luke Scott, instead paying him a $1 million buyout.

Ludwick and Cincinnati Reds teammate Ryan Madson became free agents when they declined mutual contract options.

The 34-year-old Ludwick turned down $5 million and received a $500,000 buyout. He batted .275 with 26 home runs and 80 RBIs for the NL Central champions before going 6 for 18 (.333) with three homers and four RBIs in the division series loss to World Series champion San Francisco.

Cincinnati signed Ludwick to a one-year deal for 2012 that included a $2 million base salary, and the outfielder earned an additional $350,000 in performance bonuses based on plate appearances. Although the Reds are interested in keeping him, Ludwick decided to see what kind of deal he can get on the open market.

Madson needed reconstructive elbow surgery after tearing a ligament during spring training and missed the entire season. Aroldis Chapman moved into the role and saved 38 games in 43 chances.

Madson had a $6 million salary this year, of which $2 million was deferred until Thursday and another $2 million until Nov. 1, 2013. He agreed to that deal in January after a $44 million, four-year deal to stay with the Philadelphia Phillies collapsed last November.

Madson would have made $11 million next year under the mutual option. Instead, he got a $2.5 million buyout. The Reds weren't going to exercise the 2013 option. They've expressed an interest in signing him to a less-expensive deal and giving him a chance to continue his recovery.

The wild-card Baltimore Orioles exercised their $1 million option on reliever Luis Ayala but declined an $11 million option on first baseman Mark Reynolds, who gets a $500,000 buyout and is eligible for salary arbitration.

The Cleveland Indians picked up their $5.75 million option on pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez. Also, the team declined its options on designated hitter Travis Hafner ($13 million) and starting pitcher Roberto Hernandez ($6 million), formerly known as Fausto Carmona.

The Pirates picked up their option on third baseman Pedro Alvarez ($700,000) and parted ways with catcher Rod Barajas, who had a $3.5 million option. Pittsburgh also released reliever Hisanori Takahashi.

The Toronto Blue Jays exercised their $3 million option on left-handed reliever Darren Oliver and signed outfielder Rajai Davis to a one-year, $2.5 million contract after declining the option on his previous deal.

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AP Sports Writers Ronald Blum and Howie Rumberg contributed to this report.

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Rainout delays Orioles RHP Cobb's reunion with Rays

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USA TODAY Sports

Rainout delays Orioles RHP Cobb's reunion with Rays

BALTIMORE -- The Tampa Bay Rays have to wait at least one more day before taking their swings against former teammate Alex Cobb.

Cobb, now with the Baltimore Orioles, was scheduled to face his old team on Tuesday night before the game was postponed by rain.

Thus, Cobb will start Wednesday in the delayed start of this series between the only two AL East teams with losing records.

The rainout will be made up as part of single-admission doubleheader on May 12.

It was the 27th major league game to be postponed this season, the most related to weather through April since the commissioner's office started keeping records in 1986. Detroit's game at Pittsburgh was washed out later Tuesday, raising the total to 28.

Cobb, 30, spent his entire career with the Rays before signing with Baltimore as a free agent on March 21. Over six years with Tampa Bay, the right-hander was 48-35 and one of the leaders of the staff.

"He was a crucial part to this organization's success," Rays starter Chris Archer said. "He's a big-game pitcher and somebody who's very consistent, very routine oriented. The competitive nature rubbed off on me and rubbed off on the other guys in this clubhouse as well."

Cobb signed a $57 million, four-year deal with the Orioles, who will be counting on him to deliver the same kind of pitching and leadership in Baltimore.

Thus far, it hasn't gone well. Cobb got off to a late start because he missed most of spring training, and since his return he's gone 0-2 with a 15.43 ERA.

"Abbreviation has affected that," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "He's going to get going here. Hopefully he can wait one more start before he does."

Brad Miller was down to bat cleanup for the Rays on Tuesday night before the game was called. Miller knew better than to chat with his old friend beforehand.

"Definitely wouldn't talk to him on his start days," Miller said. "Thought about maybe texting him just to rattle him a little bit, but ... ."

Miller won't know what to think when he sees Cobb wearing the orange and black of the Orioles.

"It's definitely going to be weird seeing him on the mound," Miller said. "I miss Cobb a lot. He was the ultimate competitor."

And that, Miller contends, is what sets Cobb apart from most pitchers.

"He's a bulldog. Really intense, kind of an old-school throwback starting pitcher," Miller said. "He's going to go out there and do anything he can for his team. So that, for me, is obviously his biggest trait."

The rainout came at an opportune time for the Orioles, who are hampered by injuries and have lost nine of 10 games to fall 11 games under .500 (6-17).

Baltimore's projected starting lineup did not include infielder Tim Beckham, who's been bothered by a groin injury and is expected to land on the 10-day disabled list.

With Beckham out and Trey Mancini playing with a tender right knee, manager Buck Showalter would have been operating with a short bench.

Help is on the way: Baltimore claimed utility infielder Jace Peterson on waivers from the New York Yankees. He's expected to arrive Wednesday.

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Indians' 14-hit victory hands Orioles 8th loss in 9 games

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USA TODAY Sports

Indians' 14-hit victory hands Orioles 8th loss in 9 games

BALTIMORE — The Cleveland Indians figured it would only be a matter of time before their struggling offense provided some support to a solid starting rotation.

Jose Ramirez and the rest of the batting order finally got into a groove Sunday, and the result was a 14-hit attack that carried Corey Kluber and the Indians past the Baltimore Orioles 7-3.

Cleveland came into the game with a .211 team batting average and ranked second-to-last in the AL in runs scored. On this day, however, Ramirez hit a solo shot in the fourth inning and a two-run drive in the ninth, and Yan Gomes had three hits to lift his batting average 41 points to .261.

"When things are not going my way, I stay positive and work it," Ramirez said through a translator. "I know eventually I'm going to break out."

Ramirez has three homers in two games and a team-leading seven for the season.

"I try not to do too much," Ramirez said. "I just look for a good pitch and then I hit it somewhere."

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Kluber yielded two home runs to Manny Machado, but the Indians twice came from behind before tacking on three runs in the ninth.

"I thought we did a pretty good job," manager Terry Francona said. "When they came back, we came back at them. We kept pushing and took some better swings."

Kluber (3-1) allowed three runs and six hits over seven-plus innings. The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner walked none and struck out four to move past Charles Nagy into sixth place on the Indians' career strikeout list with 1,238.

"It doesn't matter if you feel you pitched well or didn't pitch well. The goal is to end the game with more runs they do," Kluber said. "That's what we did."

Machado's third multihomer game of the season wasn't enough to prevent the Orioles from losing for the ninth time in 10 games, a skid that has dropped them 10 games under .500 (6-16).

"You know what? There's no excuse for what's happening," Machado said. "We need to play better overall. Nobody is in here pointing fingers. We are in here together, and we are going to ride or die together."

Andrew Cashner (1-3) gave up four runs and eight hits in six innings, walking two and striking out seven. He's 0-3 with 7.41 ERA in three lifetime appearances against the Indians.

After Machado connected in the first inning, Cleveland went up 2-1 in the fourth when Edwin Encarnacion and Yonder Alonso hit successive doubles following a leadoff homer by Ramirez.

Baltimore regained the lead in the bottom half. After Machado homered, Adam Jones doubled and scored on a single by Chris Davis.

A pair of walks and run-scoring singles by Francisco Lindor and Michael Brantley put the Indians up 4-3 in the fifth.

"Once you get the lead, you can't give it up," Cashner lamented.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Indians: CF Bradley Zimmer was a late scratch with a mild right ankle sprain. He was replaced by Rajai Davis.

Orioles: LF Trey Mancini missed a second straight game with a swollen right knee. ... DH Mark Trumbo (strained right quad) will begin a three-game stint with Double-A Bowie on Monday, then play three games with Triple-A Norfolk later in the week, manager Buck Showalter said. He won't be rushed to return. "It's important we get it right the first time," Showalter said.

WELL RESTED

Indians right-hander Josh Tomlin threw a side session Saturday and is expected to start Tuesday against the Cubs. Francona opted to skip Tomlin's last scheduled start Wednesday to reset the rotation after Cleveland had two straight games postponed last weekend.

UP NEXT

Indians: Carlos Carrasco (3-0, 3.48 ERA) starts the series finale Monday night. The right-hander is 9-0 with a 1.75 ERA over his past 11 starts since Aug. 27.

Orioles: RHP Kevin Gausman (1-1, 5.57) makes his fifth start of the season after allowing 27 hits -- including six homers -- over 21 innings.

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