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Yankees, Neil Walker close to $5M deal


    Free agent second baseman Neil Walker fields a ground ball during infield drills before a scrimmage game in Bradenton, Fla., on Feb. 27. A person familiar with the negotiations says free agent infielder Neil Walker and the New York Yankees are close to an agreement on a one-year contract for about $5 million. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because an agreement would be subject to a successful physical.

NEW YORK >> Free-agent infielder Neil Walker and the New York Yankees are close to a one-year contract worth about $5 million, a person familiar with the negotiations told the Associated Press.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Monday because any agreement is subject to a successful physical.

Walker likely would start at second base and Brandon Drury, acquired from Arizona last month, would play third. That would mean touted prospects Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar probably would start the season in the minor leagues.

Walker is among the victims of a historically slow free agent market and will take a huge cut from the $17.2 million he earned last season, when he accepted a qualifying offer from the New York Mets. The 32-year-old hit .265 with 14 homers and 49 RBIs last year for the Mets and Milwaukee, who acquired him Aug. 12.

An agreement with Walker at that price would raise the Yankees’ projected luxury tax payroll to approximately $182 million, about $15 million below the luxury tax threshold.

He had been working out at the camp for free agents in Bradenton, Florida, organized by the players’ association.

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