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Berkman, Wood, Johnson Turned Loose By Yankees

The New York Yankees will not pick up the options on DH Lance Berkman, pitcher Kerry Wood and designated hitter Nick Johnson, the club has announced. This means all three will become free agents.

Wood, who will be 34 next season, would seem to be the only one of the three that the Yankees might have interest in bringing back. The right-handed reliever went 2-0 with a 0.69 ERA in 24 regular-season games for the Yankees after a midseason trade from the Cleveland Indians. Wood became the primary setup man for closer Mariano Rivera, a bridge that always seems to be in flux for New York.

Wood, however, is likely looking to translate his success in New York into a bigger money deal and an opportunity to be a closer again. He closed for the Cubs in 2008, and the Indians in 2009 and 2010 before coming to the Yankees.

Berkman hit .255 in 37 games as a Yankee after coming over in a trade with Houston. The Yankees likely don't have a place for him as a designated hitter. With some of their aging players they will likely want to keep the DH spot open. With Mark Teixeira at first base, there is no place for Berkman to play.

The oft-injured Johnson hit just .167 in 24 games before being lost for the season with a wrist injury.