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Yankees still have Mitre in plans after declining option

New York Yankees v Toronto Blue Jays

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 06: Sergio Mitre #45 of the New York Yankees throws a pitch during the game against the Toronto Blue Jays on September 6, 2009 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Paul Giamou/Getty Images)

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Sure, $1.25 million is barely a drop in the bucket for the Bombers, but why spend it if you don’t have to? The Yankees on Tuesday declined Sergio Mitre’s $1.25 million option for 2010, but did so while retaining the 28-year-old’s rights for 2009. That’s because Mitre is short of the six years of service time he’d need for free agency. Mitre is now eligible for arbitration, and it’s unlikely that he’ll be able to ask for more than $1 million after going 3-3 with a 6.79 ERA in nine starts and three relief appearances in his return from Tommy John surgery last season. The right-hander has a career ERA of 5.56 in 61 starts and 29 relief appearance. If Mitre isn’t willing to accept a modest one-year deal, the Yankees could always non-tender him next month. But it’s more likely that they’ll keep him around and settle on a contract closer to arbitration season. He should enter spring training no higher than sixth or seventh on the rotation depth chart, so he’ll have a fight on his hands if he’s going to make the team as a middle reliever.