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Rafael Soriano opts out of Yankees contract

Yankees relief pitcher Rafael Soriano will meet with

Yankees relief pitcher Rafael Soriano will meet with Dr. James Andrews Wednesday in Pensacola, Fla., after undergoing another MRI Tuesday on his elbow. Credit: Christopher Pasatieri

It was only a matter of time, but Wednesday was opt-out day for Rafael Soriano.

The Yankees' closer opted-out of the final year of the three-year, $35 million deal he signed before the 2011 season. The Yankees PR department's verified twitter account tweeted the news.

Soriano was in line to earn $14 million for the 2013 season under that contract, and he is now due a $1.5 million buyout. The Yankees are likely to make Soriano a qualifying offer, which is $13.3 million this season. If he accepts he would be under contract for one season and, combined with his buyout, would actually earn an $800,000 raise over his former deal.

But Soriano, who will turn 33 in December, is thought to be seeking a multi-year deal. He saved 42 games with a 2.26 ERA in 2012, taking over for the injured Mariano Rivera. His performance was less stellar in 2011, when he was 2-3 with a 4.12 ERA in a late-inning role.

Soriano's bargaining position could be helped by Rivera's indecision on whether he will return. The Yankees could turn to an in-house candidate like David Robertson for the ninth inning, but he's appeared shaky in prior closing opportunities and the Yankees have already witnessed Soriano succeed in the role.

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