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, the 37-year-old Soriano was hitting .254 with 17 homers and 51 RBIs 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 with the Yankees.
"He's played there before," injured Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson said earlier in the day at the team's spring training complex in Tampa, Fla. "That's one thing that is a difficult thing to adjust to."
"You've got to come to New York and can you handle it, can you not? Obviously he had in the past," he said.
Soriano has never played a regular-season game at the new Yankee Stadium. He did, however, hit a home run in his lone game at the ballpark — in April 2009, the Cubs played a pair of exhibition games at Yankee Stadium before the official opener.
Soriano has hit 389 career home runs while playing for the Yankees, Texas, Washington and the Cubs.
The deal was the latest move for the Cubs before the July 31 deadline for trades without waivers. This month, they traded pitcher Matt Garza to Tampa Bay and pitcher Scott Feldman to Baltimore.