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Closer Rafael Soriano opts out of Yankees contract

Yankees reliever Rafael Soriano [1], who recorded 42 saves this season as a fill-in for injured closer Mariano Rivera [2], has opted out of his contract [3], the team announced Wednesday. Soriano was due $14 million next season but took a $1.5 million buyout instead.

The Yankees [4] are expected to make a $13.3 million qualifying offer to Soriano by Friday in order to make themselves eligible to receive draft-pick compensation should he sign elsewhere.

Following a mediocre season in his first year in New York in 2011, when he had a 2-3 record, two saves and a 4.12 ERA in 39 1/3 innings, Soriano rebounded in 2012 to record a 2-1 record with 42 saves in 45 chances and a 2.26 ERA, with 69 strikeouts in 67 2/3 innings.

Soriano is believed to be seeking a four-year deal, while the Yankees are said to be planning on offering two years.