The New York Yankees acquired Alfonso Soriano from the Chicago Cubs on Friday, bringing back the seven-time All-Star to provide a power boost to a team that desperately needs more pop.
Soriano immediately went into the starting lineup, batting cleanup and playing left field against Tampa Bay. The Cubs got minor-league pitcher Corey Black, and are sending almost $17.7 million to the Yankees to cover the rest of Soriano’s rich contract.
“We’ve obviously been trying to improve our offense this season, to no avail,” Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman said. “By far, he was the best available bat to date.”
Soriano outhomered the Yankees all by himself (10-8) in the four weeks prior to the deal. Overall, Soriano, 37, was hitting .254 with 17 homers and 51 RBI with the Cubs.
The Yankees led the majors with 245 home runs last year, but rank next-to-last in the AL this season with only 88.
Their slump from the right side — Soriano hits righty — is even more acute. It’s been a month since a right-hander homered for the Yankees, with Jayson Nix the last to do it on June 25.
The Yankees began the day with a 54-48 record and in fourth place in the AL East, 6½ games behind division-leading Boston.
Soriano began his major-league career with the Yankees in 1999. Popular with his teammates and fans, he played five seasons for New York before being traded to Texas in a deal for Alex Rodriguez, now his teammate.
Soriano has hit 389 career home runs while playing for the Yankees, Texas, Washington and the Cubs.
Pirates closer out indefinitely
Pittsburgh Pirates All-Star closer Jason Grilli was diagnosed with a flexor strain in his right arm and is out indefinitely.
Grilli, who is tied for the National League lead with 30 saves, injured the arm while pitching against the Washington Nationals on Monday night. He met with Dr. James Andrews, who ruled out surgery but said Grilli, 36, should rest the arm for 10-14 days.
Grilli will be re-evaluated in two weeks but the typical recovery program for the injury is 1-2 months. Mark Melancon has taken over the closer role for the Pirates, who played in Miami on Friday night.
Around the leagues
The surging Seattle Mariners placed young catcher Mike Zunino on the 15-day disabled list because of a broken bone in his left hand. Seattle signed free-agent catcher Humberto Quintero. … The Washington Nationals reinstated right-handed relief pitcher Ryan Mattheus from the disabled list. … Colorado Rockies left-hander Drew Pomeranz was scratched from his scheduled start against Milwaukee and placed on the 15-day disabled list because of left bicep tendinitis. The Rockies recalled outfielder Corey Dickerson from Triple-A Colorado Springs. … The San Francisco Giants activated Joaquin Arias from the disabled list and optioned right-handed reliever Jake Dunning to Triple-A Fresno.