Brignac out; Almonte gets shot in left field
Get used to a left side of the infield of Jayson Nix at shortstop and David Adams at third base for the Yankees until Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez come back sometime after the All-Star break.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi conceded as much before Friday night’s game. The Reid Brignac experiment is over as the Yankees designated him for assignment and recalled infielder Alberto Gonzalez from Triple A Scranton.
When they acquired him off waivers from the Rockies, the Yankees had hoped Brignac would provide some needed punch from the left side, but that did not happen. Brignac played well in the field but had only five hits, including one double, in 44 at-bats for a .114 batting average with the Yankees after he had hit .250 with one home run and six RBI in 48 at-bats with Colorado.
Gonzalez wasn’t exactly ripping it up at Triple A, either. He hit .224 with four doubles and eight RBI in 76 at-bats. He batted .333 on 3-for-9 in an earlier stint with the Yankees this year before he was optioned back to the minors when the Yankees brought in Brignac, so Gonzalez has gone full circle.
A new face was in the starting lineup Friday night. Zoilo Almonte started in left field and batted sixth in the order. Almonte batted as a pinch hitter in the ninth inning Thursday night and got his first major-league hit, a single off the third base bag.
“We’ll give Zoilo a chance,” Girardi said. “He may have some butterflies out there, but it was important for him to get that first hit out of the way.”
Asked if Almonte was a threat to the playing time of Vernon Wells, who is mired in a 9-for-90 (.100) slump, Girardi said, “No matter who you are in this game, there is going to be somebody who wants your job. You have to prove yourself over and over.”
The Yankees have used 41 players this year, which is only four fewer than they had all of last season. The total includes 18 players who have made their first appearance with the Yankees, six of whom have made their major-league debuts – right-handed pitchers Preston Claiborne and Brett Marshall, left-handed pitcher Vidal Nuno, infielders David Adams and Corban Joseph and Almonte. The Elias Sports Bureau reports that the previous time the Yankees had six players or more make their big-league debuts prior to the All-Star break was in 2007 with seven – right-handed pitchers Tyler Clippard, Matt DeSalvo, Phil Hughes, Edwar Ramirez and Chase Wright, left-handed pitcher Kei Igawa and third baseman Chris Basak.
The Yankees also selected off waivers two pitchers, righthander Yoshinori Tateyama, 37, who had a 4.24 ERA for the Rangers’ Triple A Round Rock club, and lefthander Mike Zagurski, 30, who allowed 10 earned runs in six innings (15.00 ERA) for the Pirates and a 2.14 ERA for their Triple A Indianapolis affiliate. Both were assigned to Scranton.
With his two home runs Thursday night, Rays third baseman Evan Longoria tied Victor Martinez and Jose Bautista for the most home runs hit at by a visitor at the current Yankee Stadium with nine. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Longoria is the first visiting right-handed batter to hit two opposite-field home runs in one game at the Stadium. Two right-handed hitters have done that for the Yankees since the Stadium opened in 2009: Russell Martin, now with the Pirates, and Jesus Montero, now in the Mariners organization.