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July 27, 2013

Cubs send Soriano to Yankees for minor leaguer

Soriano returns to team he broke in with in 1999.

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Yankees acquired Alfonso Soriano from the Chicago Cubs on Friday, bringing back the seven-time All-Star to give 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 also 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 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. Banged up, they’ve played most of the year without Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.

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.

Soriano made his major league debut with the Yankees in 1999 and quickly blossomed into a rare package of speed and power. In 2002, he hit 39 homers and 51 doubles while batting .300, stealing 41 bases, scoring 128 runs and driving in 102.

“He’s not the same player he used to be,” Cashman said, “but he certainly provides some thunder from the right side that we’ve been lacking.”

Cashman hinted, too, that more deals might be in the works.

The Yankees began the day with a 54-48 record and in fourth place in the AL East, 6½ games behind division-leading Boston.

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