Results tagged ‘ Yangervis Solarte ’

Yankees acquire Headley from Padres

As to the question that has been floating around as the July 31 trade deadline nears of whether the Yankees will be buyers or sellers, it was answered by general manager Brian Cashman Tuesday with the acquisition of third baseman Chase Headley from the Padres for infielder Yangervis Solarte, Class A Tampa pitcher Rafael De Paula and cash.

Let’s not carried away. Headley is no savior. Two years ago, the switch hitter, 30, finished fifth in the voting for the National League Most Valuable Player Award after leading the league in RBI with 115 and batting .286 with 31 home runs. He slipped to .250 with 13 home runs and 50 RBI a year ago, and this season has been plagued by back problems while hitting .229 with seven homers and 32 RBI.

Headley can be a free agent at season’s end, so he is in essence a rental player and one who has plenty of incentive to have a big finish and put up the kind of offensive numbers that will make him attractive in the open market over the winter and perhaps give the Yankees a lift in their pursuit of a postseason berth, preferably as the American League East division winner.

The Yankees’ signing of Solarte to a minor-league deal figured into this trade. They took a flier on an eight-year minor leaguer, who worked hard to make the team as a utility player and had a delirious six-week run early on that made him a feel-good story at the time and a valuable bargaining chip in trade negotiations.

Solarte, 27, batted .254 with 26 runs, 14 doubles, six home runs and 31 RBI in 75 games and 252 at-bats with the Yankees. He also played in five games with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and hit .600 with three doubles, one triple and five RBI in 20 at-bats.

De Paula, 23, was 6-5 with a 4.15 ERA in 20 games (17 starts) covering 89 innings for Tampa. He was originally signed by the Yankees as a minor-league free agent Nov. 18, 2010.

Headley was en route to New York from Chicago but was not expected at Yankee Stadium by game time. Kelly Johnson, who has shared third base with Solarte and Zelous Wheeler this year, found himself in right field for the first time as a major leaguer. With Mark Teixeira unavailable because of a left lat strain, Brian McCann started at first base with Francisco Cervelli behind the plate.

Weary bullpen costly to Phelps and Yanks

With a spent bullpen from Wednesday night’s 14-inning marathon, the Yankees did not have much fortification for Thursday night’s starter, David Phelps. Looking at the 9-3 Indians final, it may be hard to believe that it was a 3-0 game through six innings and all Yankees at that.

Phelps sustained his fourth straight no-decision, and this one really hurt. He pitched very well in spots, wiggled out of danger at other times and was working on a five-hit shutout going into the seventh inning. But when the first two Cleveland batters singled, Yankees manager Joe Girardi decided to make a change. Three batters later, the Yankees’ lead was gone.

Lefthander Matt Thornton gave up an infield single to Jason Kipnis that loaded the bases. Asdrubal followed with a drive into the right field corner for a bases-clearing triple that tied the score and left Phelps with yet another ND. Jacoby Ellsbury’s dazzling catch of a Michael Brantley prevented another Indians hit, but it was a sacrifice fly that gave the Tribe the lead.

Righthander Jim Miller could not stop the bleeding in the eighth when the Indians struck for five more runs on five hits, including two-run home runs by catcher Roberto Perez, who had a strong major-league debut (3-for-4, 1 walk, 2 RBI) and Carlos Santana.

The turnaround was a real shame for Phelps, who has not had much to show for an impressive string of starts. Over his past six outings, Phelps is 2-0 with a 3.13 ERA. Considering the state of the Yankees’ rotation, four-fifths of which have landed on the disabled list, Phelps has proved a real boon for the Yankees.

The Indians’ late outburst only served to illuminate early missed opportunities by the Yankees to pile on to their lead. They left 11 runners on base over the first six innings, twice standing the bags loaded.

A couple of Triple A call-ups were responsible for the Yankees’ offense. Zelous Wheeler hit a two-run home run in the fourth. One inning later, Yangervis Solarte, just back from Scranton with Carlos Beltran on the 7-day concussion list, singled in a run. Derek Jeter had two hits for his 1,000th career multi-hit game, only the sixth major-leaguer since 1900 to reach that plateau. Ichiro Suzuki’s pinch single in the eighth inning was his 2,800th hit in the majors on top of the 1,278 he had in Japan. Suzuki might have been called on to pitch if Miller had been unable to get the third out of the eighth inning.

The loss was a blow to the Yankees going into a three-game set at Baltimore. The Orioles beat Washington to move four games ahead of the Yankees in the American League East standings, which means the Yankees cannot move into first place even with a series sweep the weekend before the All-Star break.

Solarte kept playing hard, earned recall

One of the dangers of a player being sent down to the minor leagues during a season is that he may pout and fall into a funk after he leaves the major league club. A manager always tells a player not to let that happen and that whatever he does down in the minors is watched closely so that he always has the chance of coming back.

Yangvervis Solarte obviously took that message from Yankees manager Joe Girardi to heart last week when he was farmed out to Triple A Scranton. Solarte is no stranger to the minor leagues, of course. He spent eight years there before making it with the Yankees out of spring training camp back in April.

In five games at Scranton, Solarte batted .600 with three doubles, a triple and five RBI in 20 at-bats. That’s right; he went 12-for-20 and had a 1.469 OPS in his brief time with the RailRiders. That earned him a recall Thursday and a return to the lineup at third base for the series finale at Cleveland.

Solarte was added to the roster because outfielder-designated hitter Carlos Beltran was placed on the seven-day concussion list after he suffered a broken nose during batting practice before Wednesday night’s game when a batted ball ricocheted off the side of the cage and struck him in the face.

“You don’t expect that to happen when you’re practicing,” Beltran said on. “I had a headache for the whole day. Now it’s getting better. Hopefully tomorrow it will get better and I could be back soon.”

Girardi said Beltran will not return until the Friday after the All-Star break, July 18, when the Yankees open an inter-league, weekend series against the Reds.

There was no update on the condition of pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, who is on the 15-day disabled list because of right elbow inflammation. Tanaka underwent an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and traveled to Seattle where Dr. Chris Ahmad, the Yankees’ team physician, is attending an orthopedist convention.

Dueling video reviews

With help from a video review, Red Sox lefthander Jon Lester still had a no-hitter through five innings Saturday night. Although the Yankees had a run on the board, they had yet to get a hit when Yangervis Solarte appeared to have broken up Lester’s bid with an infield single with two outs in the bottom of the fifth.

It was an official scorer’s nightmare for Howie Karpin, who ruled the play a single. Solarte hit a dribbler near the third base line. Boston third baseman Zander Bogaerts made a nifty, bare-handed pickup, but his throw to first base was in the dirt. First baseman Mike Napoli stretched for the throw and made a nice scoop, but first base umpire Mark Wegner called Solarte safe.

Karpin was forced to credit Solarte with a hit because of the degree of difficulty Bogaerts had in making the fielding play. It all became incidental when Red Sox manager John Farrell asked for a review. Video replays clearly showed that Napoli’s foot was on the bag before Solarte reached first base, so Wegner’s call was overturned keeping Lester’s no-no in place for the time being.

The Yankees came right back in the sixth with a review request of their own when Dustin Pedroia led off with an apparent double. That call was also overturned when replays showed that Pedroia slid into the tag of second baseman Brian Roberts.

Lester’s no-hit bid did not last for long. Brett Gardner led off the sixth with a ground single through the middle for the Yankees’ first hit. Gardner was quickly erased when thrown out attempting to steal second base. Derek Jeter and Jacoby Ellsbury restarted the rally with singles, but Mark Teixeira flied out and Carlos Beltran struck out.

The Yankees had scored in the third inning without a hit. Shortstop Stephen Drew bobbled a grounder by Roberts for an error, and Lester hit Solarte with a pitch. Gardner advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt. Roberts scored as Jeter grounded out to shortstop. Solarte crossed to third base but was stranded as Ellsbury also grounded out to short.

The Red Sox had gotten on the board in the top of the third on a solo home run by David Ross. Masahiro Tanaka showed off a good slider and splitter, but in the fourth Boston hit him hard with Pedroia lining a single to right and David Ortiz almost decapitating Pedroia with another liner to right for a double. Tanaka held firm, however. He struck out Napoli and Drew and retired Bogaerts on an infield grounder.

Taking turns messing up

No sooner had the Yankees allowed the Blue Jays to pull in front by the score of 6-0 due in part to shabby defense that Toronto did the same thing in return and watched its sizable lead disappear.

Mark Buehrle seemed poised to end his personal nine-game losing streak against the Yankees only to watch his career record against them remain at 1-11 as he was hung with a no-decision. Errors by left fielder Melky Cabrera and shortstop Jose Reyes were key factors in the Yankees’ putting up a five-spot in the seventh inning to knot the score at 6.

Derek Jeter, whose hesitating play in the fifth contributed to a three-run inning by the Blue Jays, began the Yankees’ comeback in the sixth with a solo home run (No. 2) off Buehrle. After Brian McCann doubled with one out in the seventh, Brian Roberts (No. 3) also took Buehrle deep, and Toronto’s lead was cut in half.

Then things got really crazy after Yangervis Solarte made the second out. Brett Gardner was credited with a double when Cabrera couldn’t hang on to the ball while attempting a sliding catch in shallow left field. Righthander Dustin McGowan replaced the left-handed Buehrle and had all four batters he faced reached base.

Jacoby Ellsbury followed a walk to Jeter with a single to left that scored Gardner. Jeter and Ellsbury were able to advance a base apiece on an errant throw to the plate by Cabrera. Mark Teixeira hit a grounder up the middle that was gloved by Reyes, who had plenty of time to throw out Tex but hurried his peg that bounced past first baseman Edwin Encarnacion for an error that allowed Jeter and Ellsbury to score and tie the game.

Alfonso Soriano kept the line moving with a single to left, which prompted another pitching change. Lefthander Aaron Loup got the final out by gloving a hard grounder to the box by Carlos Beltran.

So it was somewhow appropriate that the game should end on an error, which it did in the bottom of the ninth. Reyes, who had a miserable game in the field with two errors, doubled to lead off the ninth against Adam Warren. Cabrera, whose 20-game hitting streak against the Yankees came to an end, dropped a sacrifice bunt toward third baseman Yangervis Solarte, whose throw to first base sailed past Roberts covering as Reyes ran all the way home with the winning run.

The Yankees’ losing streak stretched to four games as they fell 3 1/2 games behind the first-place Blue Jays in the American League East.

Giveaway outs = giveaway runs

The last thing a team struggling with the bat needs to do is give the opposing team extra outs that often result in gift runs. Such was the case for the Yankees in the fifth inning Tuesday night at Toronto.

Oddly, it was Derek Jeter, master of alertness on the field, who was guilty of an infraction that ultimately cost the Yankees three runs and dumped them into a 6-0 hole against their old punching bag, Mark Buehrle.

Jeter was not solely at fault. Third baseman Yangervis Solarte was also implicated in what can be described as a rookie mistake. With two out and runners on first and third, David Phelps seemed to get out of the inning when Edwin Encarnacion hit a grounder to Jeter, who turned toward third seeking an inning-ending forceout.

Solarte was nowhere near the bag, however. Jeter then looked toward second base before finally firing to first base in an attempt to get Encarnacion, who beat the play. No error was charged, but the hesitation fielder’s choice loaded the bases for the Blue Jays and kept the inning alive.

Colby Rasmus immediately followed with a drive off the right field wall missing a grand slam by inches for a two-run single. A third run scored when Rasmus beat Jeter back to the bag at first base in a rundown. Jeter appeared to lose a step chasing Rasmus as he eyes Encarnacion coming down the third base line.

Ragged defense must be avoided at all times, but especially when runs are tough to come by, which they have been for the Yankees. They entered the game averaging merely four runs per game and trailing opponents by 35 runs for the season.

Jays a different club away from Stadium

What a difference a venue makes. Last week at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees swept a three-game series from the first-place Blue Jays that let Toronto know it was not going to run away and hide in the American League East. That sweep ran to 16 games the Yankees’ winning streak at home against the Jays.

The return engagement at Rogers Centre was a different story, at least for Monday night’s series opener. The Blue Jays struck early and often in their own building to end Chase Whitley’s good luck charm on the road with an 8-3 victory.

The Yankees had been 5-0 in road games started by Whitley, the Triple A call-up who has done a splendid job in plugging up one of the holes in the injury-riddled rotation. The Alabama righthander did not have it this night, however, as Toronto burst out to a 7-0 lead after two innings. That marked as many runs as Whitley allowed over his four previous starts combined covering 24 2/3 innings.

Melky Cabrera, who has tormented his former teammates since he left after the 2009 season, got the ball rolling for the Jays with a one-out double in the first inning. Adam Lind, batting in the 3-hole with Jose Bautista out because of hamstring problems, knocked in Cabrera with a single.

Lind did quite a bit more damage in the six-run Toronto second inning. The Jays loaded the bases with none out on three straight singles. A fielder’s choice and an RBI single by Cabrera made the score 3-0 before Lind broke the game open with a three-run home run over the center field wall.

Cabrera extended his hitting streak against the Yankees to 20 games. During the stretch, he has batted .349 with seven doubles, one triple and one home run in 83 at-bats. Melky has reached base safely in all 22 career games against his former club. The last player with a 20-game hitting streak against the Yankees was also named Cabrera, the Tigers’ Miguel (no relation) from 2006-10.

Whitley, who had walked only four batters in his seven prior starts totaling 38 2/3 innings, walked the first two guys up in the fourth and appeared gassed. Dioner Navarro singled to drive in the Blue Jays’ eighth run, which forced manager Joe Girardi to go to the bullpen.

The relief work of David Huff and Shawn Kelley were bright spots for the Yankees. Huff pitched 3 2/3 innings and allowed one hit and two walks with three strikeouts and a wild pitch. Kelley struck out the side in the eighth and gave up one hit.

It was the first poor outing for Whitley, who was charged with eight earned runs in 3 1/3 innings as his ERA hiked from 2.56 to 4.07. The righthander allowed 11 hits and three walks with one strikeout and one wild pitch.

Marcus Stroman, who could not get through the fourth inning last week at the Stadium, pitched a solid eight for the Blue Jays this time. The righthander from Long Island gave up one run on Mark Teixeira’s 13th homer and only two other hits, singles by Brendan Ryan and Ichiro Suzuki, and had seven strikeouts.

Considering the state of the Yankees’ offense these days, the hole Whitley put his team in was too great out of which for his teammates to climb. The Yankees did score a couple of runs in the ninth off Chad Jenkins. Yangervis Solarte, who entered the game in the eighth, stopped a 0-for-28 slump with an RBI single, and Kelly Johnson doubled in a run.

Those were the Yankees’ only runs other than the two from a pair of homers by Teixeira over the past 27 innings for the Yankees, who fell 2 1/2 games behind the Blue Jays, a sign that they were no longer at Yankee Stadium.

HOPE Week: Mother’s major helper

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The concluding event of the Yankees’ HOPE Week 2014 (Helping Others Persevere and Excel) Friday brought pitchers CC Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka, Dellin Betances and Jose Ramirez; infielders Mark Teixeira, Kelly Johnson, Brendan Ryan and Yangervis Solarte and catcher Brian McCann to St. Joseph Regional High School in Montvale, N.J., for a surprise lunch for Quai Jefferson, and his mother, Vaida.

The group was joined by notable St. Joseph alumni John Flaherty, the former Yankees catcher and current YES Network broadcaster, and NFL players Jason McCourty of the Tennessee Titans and Devin McCourty of the New England Patriots, who are twin brothers. Select members of the St. Joseph Regional faculty who have had a profound influence on Quai’s life also attended. Later in the evening, Quai and Vaida and their family and friends were guests of the Yankees for their game against the Orioles at Yankee Stadium.

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CC Sabathia and Quai Jefferson

Now a freshman at the University of Delaware, Quai Jefferson was only six years old when his mother, Vaida, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 11 years ago. By the time he was 10, Quai was running the household, cooking and doing laundry. Nurses taught him to check Vaida’s blood pressure and inject her twice a day with Copaxone, a drug which eases the effects of MS.

Now 18, Quai (pronounced Kway) graduated from St. Joseph Regional where he was on the honor roll and a two-sport varsity athlete in football and basketball. At Delaware, Quai will play football and major in business administration with an emphasis in accounting or marketing.

“He has taken on a parent’s responsibility,” Regina Kay, a family friend, said of Quai. “It’s like a role reversal. He’s doing everything his mother would do for him, and he doesn’t give it a second thought. It’s their normal.“

Prior to her diagnosis, Vaida was a design assistant for Jones New York who spent her free time doting on her son and exposing him to a variety of activities, including art classes, piano lessons and tap dancing. Unfortunately, her declining health forced things to change. When most kids would hang out with friends after school, Quai went home to care for his mother, never complaining or shrinking from the responsibility. Over the years since Vaida was first diagnosed, friends and relatives have come and gone but Quai has been steadfast in his devotion.

“She’s truly my heart, my rock and my stone,” Quai said. “She’s all I have.”

He and his mother have a mantra they repeat to each other in tough times — “Adapt and overcome.”

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Mark Teixeira and Vaida Jefferson

Tanaka on a roll, but Teixeira still hurting

Saturday was one of those good news-bad news days for the Yankees. The good news was that Masahiro Tanaka had another outstanding start in a 3-1 victory over the Twins. The bad news is that Mark Teixeira’s surgical right wrist is not getting any better.

The bad news first because, well, it is a matter of concern. Manager Joe Girardi initiated the premature removal of Teixeira from Saturday’s game when he saw feeble swings from the first baseman in his first two at-bats. Tex stayed in the game three innings more on defense before his turn in the batting order came up again and Girardi sent up Brian Roberts to hit for him.

After the game, Teixeira had a cortisone injection in the wrist in hopes of calming down the inflammation that caused him pain last week and forced Girardi to sit him down for the last three games of the trip. Teixeira got a fourth straight day off Thursday, an open date, before returning to the lineup Friday night.

Teixeira walked three times in that game, so the discomfort he felt was marginal due to his lack of contact. Soreness persisted, however, and worsened when he took batting practice Saturday. He struck out with the bases loaded in the first inning and grounded out to the right side in the third. By then, his wrist was throbbing.

Girardi said after the game that Teixeira will not play Sunday against the Twins and Phil Hughes or in Monday night’s rain-makeup game against the Mariners and see where he stands Tuesday night when the Yankees open a three-game series against the Athletics.

“It’s concerning in the short term,” Girardi said. “We hope the soreness becomes less and less the further he gets away from the surgery.”

“We’re back to square one,” said Teixeira, who noted that Sunday marks 11 months since he had the wrist surgery. “I rested for four days, and it didn’t help. You try to hold off the cortisone shot as long as you can because you can only get two of those a year. It’s what you expect a year after surgery. We’ll see how it reacts to the cortisone. If the shot doesn’t work, then I’ll be worried.”

Teixeira, a notoriously slow starter, was encouraged by his strong showing early in the season. He is battting only .242 but leads the Yankees in home runs with nine and was tied for the club RBI lead until Yangervis Solarte pulled ahead of him Saturday with his 26th on his sixth home run of the season as part of a three-hit day.

Now it is off to another waiting period for Teixeira.

The rest of the clubhouse was upbeat following another gem by Tanaka, who overcame three errors by his teammates to limit Minnesota to one unearned run, four hits and two walks with nine strikeouts in eight innings to improve his record to 8-1. The Yankees are now 16-6 in games started by rookie pitchers this season. David Robertson took over in the ninth and struck out the side for his 12th save.

This was the 11th straight game in which Tanaka has pitched at least six innings and allowed three runs or fewer. Only other one pitcher has done that for a longer stretch: Expos righthander Steve Rogers in his first 16 outings in 1973. Since earned runs became an official statistic in 1913, Tanaka is the first pitcher to produce such an outing
in each of his first 11 games or first 11 starts with the Yankees. The last Yankees pitcher to produce such a start in 10 consecutive games at any point in his career was CC Sabathia, who did so in 16 consecutive games in 2010 from June 3 through Aug. 22.

And the Yankees sure like it when the lights are off. They are 14-5 in day games this year. Over the past four seasons, their record in day games of 122-61 is the best in the major leagues.

Running until you get tagged out

It looked for a while there as if the Yankees may have needed some base running drills. For the second straight game, they ran themselves out of a rally with the trail runner not paying attention to the third base coach, Rob Thompson.

In the sixth inning Saturday with the score 1-1, Brian McCann, who had doubled with one out, was still at second base with two out. Yangervis Solarte singled sharply to right field and rounded first base heading to second in hopes of having the Twins cut the ball off to go after him while McCann scored.

The problem was that Thompson put up the red light on McCann, a slow runner, which meant that Solarte was a dead duck at second base. Too bad for Solarte, who had three hits and got his batting average back over .300. Every times it seems that the eight-year minor league veteran is finding sea level after a torrid start, he gets hot again.

The same thing happened Friday night with of all people in the center of it Derek Jeter. He singled to right field with two out and made the same maneuver while Brett Gardner was being held at third base by Thompson. Gardner tried to bail out Jeter by coming down the line to draw a throw, but he got caught in a rundown and tagged out. Jeter got to third on the play but died there as Jacoby Ellsbury ended the inning with an infield fly ball.

“It’s my job in my situation, if you think there’s a play at the plate, you’ve got to go and try to go to second base to trade an out for a run,” Jeter said after the game. “But I’ve got to make sure he’s going. It’s not my job to think what’s going to happen. I have to know. Good play by them, but I assumed he was going. I shouldn’t assume.”

As it turned out, base running played a pivotal part in the Yankees regaining the lead over the Twins in the eighth inning Saturday. Ellsbury, who singled to center with one out, stole second and continued to third on an errant throw by catcher Josmil Pinto. After Brian Roberts walked, McCann smoked another double on a liner past Joe Mauer at first base and down the right field line to give the Yanks and Masahiro Tanaka a 2-1 lead.