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Cubs Exercise Option On Ramirez
CHICAGO (AP) -- The Chicago Cubs have exercised their side of a $16 million mutual contract option on third baseman Aramis Ramirez.

But Ramirez has informed the team that he will decline his side of the option and explore free agency. He has until Tuesday night to make that decision official.

The 33-year-old Ramirez had been interested in a multiyear deal. He joined the Cubs in a 2003 trade from the Pirates and just completed a five-year, $75 million contract.

He batted .306 with 26 homers and 93 RBIs last season, his ninth in Chicago. He broke in with the Pirates in 1998 and is a career .284 hitter with 315 homers and has six seasons of at least 100 RBIs.

The decision Sunday night on Ramirez was one of the first handled by new Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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