Raul Ibanez sends Game 3 of ALDS to extras with solo blast

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Alex Rodriguez has struggled mightily in this ALDS against the O’s, managing just one hit while fanning seven times in 13 plate appearances. So Yankees manager Joe Girardi finally decided to take action in the ninth inning of Game 3 on Wednesday night.

Raul Ibanez entered as a pinch-hitter in A-Rod’s spot with the Yankees trailing the Orioles 2-1 and promptly swatted a game-tying solo home run to right field. The dinger sent a charge through Yankee Stadium and pushed Game 3 into extra innings.

Rodriguez was the first to greet Ibanez when he returned to the dugout and the two exchanged a double high five. The Orioles were just retired in the top of the 10th inning, so the Yanks now have a chance to win it.

Rangers will not exercise Mike Napoli’s 2018 option

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The Rangers have informed 1B/DH Mike Napoli the club will not exercise his 2018 option, worth $11 million, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports. Instead, the Rangers will pay Napoli $2.5 million to buy him out of his contract, making him a free agent.

Napoli, 35, hit a disappointing .193/.285/.428 with 29 home runs and 66 RBI in 485 plate appearances this past season. Given his age and declining production, it’s not shocking that the Rangers want to look elsewhere.

Napoli turns 36 at the end of the month. Given his age and worsening peripheral stats, he will likely have to settle for a one-year deal this offseason.