Marte's $6 million option declined by Yankees

Updated: November 6, 2008, 7:16 PM ET
Associated Press

DANA POINT, Calif. -- Relief pitcher Damaso Marte's $6 million option was declined Thursday by the New York Yankees, who chose to pay the left-hander a $250,000 buyout.

Marte was obtained with outfielder Xavier Nady from Pittsburgh on July 26 for pitchers Ross Ohlendorf, Jeff Karstens and Daniel McCutchen and outfielder Jose Tabata. Marte was 1-3 with a 5.40 ERA in 25 games with the Yankees and 5-3 with a 4.02 ERA overall.

The 33-year-old had filed for free agency provisionally on Wednesday. The Yankees' decision completes a $5 million, two-year contract Marte agreed to in November 2006.

Before leaving the general managers' meetings, Yankees GM Brian Cashman said manager Joe Girardi had spoken with Mick Kelleher about becoming first-base coach. Kelleher, a former big league infielder, has been with the Yankees since 2006 and currently is minor league defensive coordinator.

Cashman rejected speculation that Kelleher would be brought in to motivate second baseman Robinson Cano, whose slump last season coincided with the departure of third-base coach Larry Bowa.

"He's a terrific infield instructor and he's very positive, so he's definitely a worthy candidate," Cashman said. "I'm not looking for a coach who's a motivator of Robby. Robby's a self-motivated guy. He came off of an off year. His bat came around at the end, and I think you'll see Robby back to his old self. But the job description right now has nothing to do with, `I need a coach to push Robby Cano.' That's not the case. I think Robby Cano is fixed already. And I think how he finished kind of demonstrated that."

A .300-plus hitter the previous two seasons, Cano was batting .217 on June 13 before raising his average to .271 by the end of the season.

In musical chairs among the coaching staff, Tony Pena would switch from first base to bench coach, and Rob Thomson would move from bench coach to third base to replace Bobby Meacham, fired last month after one season.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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