Yankees release Matt Diaz

USA TODAY Sports

New York now has one less righty-hitting outfielder to choose from for the fourth outfielder gig.

The New York Yankees have narrowed the search for their righty-hitting outfield bench bat by one. The club has released veteran outfielder Matt Diaz, reports Bryan Hoch of MLB.com.

The Yankees signed Diaz to a minor-league deal in late-December with the hopes that he could help balance out their lefty-heavy outfield. The veteran was set to compete with Juan Rivera and Thomas Neal for the fourth outfielder role, and would have made $1.2 million plus incentives had he made the roster.

Circumstances changed drastically for Diaz and the Yankees, however, when both Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira went down early on in camp. Since then the club has acquired another righty bat, Ben Francisco, and lefty outfielder Brennan Boesch, making Diaz essentially expendable.

The 35-year-old certainly didn't help his own cause this spring, hitting just .200/.250/.200 with no extra-base hits in 32 plate appearances with the Bombers.

A 10-year MLB vet, Diaz is a career .291/.339/.431 hitter but his numbers have fallen off of late. He still has a penchant for mashing southpaws, though -- to the tune of .324/.364/.498 -- so he should be able to latch on with another club without much hassle.

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