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Yankees sign Ibanez for DH, pass over Damon

The Yankees made it official this morning, signing veteran Raul Ibanez to a one-year,  $1.1 million deal to largely serve as their left-handed DH. Ibanez hit .245 for the Phillies last season with 20 homers and 84 RBIs but was at .256-16-60 against right-handed pitchers with a .440 slugging percentage and .747 slugging percentage that was 162 points higher than it was against lefties.

The Yankees waited to free up some money by trading A.J. Burnett to Pittsburgh and then moved on their DH slot, which will often be filled against lefties by Alex Rodriguez and even Derek Jeter. They kicked the tires on Hideki Matsui and Damon openly campaigned for the job, telling that he's surprised neither the Yankees nor the Rays (his team last year) have brought him in. The Yankees apparently think Ibanez can do a little more defensively, according to

Ibanez had a great year for the Phillies in 2009, when they lost the World Series to the Yankees, as he hit .272 with 34 homers and 93 RBIs. He had been a 100-RBI man the previous three years in Seattle and has 252 home runs in his career. But he turns 40 on June 2 so we'll see how much is left in his tank after his numbers took a dip last year.

---Mike Harrington

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