Yankees sign DH Billy Butler, start him vs Red Sox

BOSTON (AP) The New York Yankees have signed free agent designated hitter Billy Butler and put him right into the starting lineup to begin a key four-game series against the Boston Red Sox.

Butler was hitting fifth Thursday night at Fenway Park against the AL East leaders. The Yankees are two games behind Toronto for the second wild-card spot.

The 30-year-old Butler was released by the Oakland Athletics on Sunday. He had one full season remaining on his $30 million, three-year contract.

Butler hit .276 with four home runs and 31 RBIs in 85 games for the A's. Last month, he was put on the concussion disabled list after a clubhouse skirmish with teammate Danny Valencia.

An All-Star in 2012 with Kansas City, the righty-hitting Butler could see a lot of action in the next week. After facing left-handed starters in only eight of their previous 41 games, they are set to oppose five lefties in six games, starting Thursday night against Eduardo Rodriguez.

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