Yankees decline 2020 option for slugger Edwin Encarnación

NEW YORK — The New York Yankees have declined their 2020 option for Edwin Encarnación, making the veteran slugger a free agent.

New York announced the move Thursday. Encarnación was due $25 million in 2020, but the Yankees bought out the remaining year of his contract for $5 million.

The Yankees acquired the three-time All-Star from Seattle in June to bolster a lineup sapped by injuries. Encarnación led the AL with 21 homers at the time, but a strained left oblique limited the 36-year-old down the stretch. He hit .249 with 13 homers, 37 RBIs and an .856 OPS in 44 regular-season games with New York.

Encarnación hit .308 while the Yankees pounded Minnesota in the AL Division Series, but he slumped badly in the AL Championship Series against Houston.

New York also said outfielder Aaron Hicks’ Tommy John surgery went as expected Wednesday.

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