NEW YORK – The New York Yankees acquired infielder Reid Brignac from the Colorado Rockies for cash, adding a left-handed bat to the group of backups filling in for the team’s injured stars.
“He played shortstop, second, third. A fly-ball hitter, so we’re going to see if we can take advantage of the left-handed bat at Yankee Stadium. He’s a very good fielder, more so than a bat,” general manager Brian Casahman said. “Gives us a little bit better of a platoon situation because all the left side of infield bats are right handed. Simple as that.”
New York designated shortstop Alberto Gonzalez for assignment Saturday to make room for Brignac on the 40-man roster. The Yankees acquired Gonzalez from the Chicago Cubs on May 9.
Brignac should get immediate playing time in an infield that has been relying on a mix of rookies and bench players to take over for All-Stars Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez since the start of the season.
The Yankees signed Kevin Youkilis this winter to play third base, but he went on the disabled list with a bad back in late April. Jeter’s backup at shortstop, Eduardo Nunez, was placed on the DL a week ago with an oblique strain, and he still hasn’t started baseball activities.
Brignac was hitting .250 with one homer and six runs batted in in limited action for the Rockies before he was designated for assignment Thursday. He could cut into the playing time of Jayson Nix and rookie David Adams.
“I envision him as a choice that (manager) Joe Girardi will look at every day to see whether he wants to play him any spot in the infield,” Cashman said.
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DENVER – Colorado Rockies outfielder Michael Cuddyer said he doubts his neck will bother him again this season after getting an epidural that relieved pain and stiffness.
He returned to throwing and taking batting practice Saturday.
“(Saturday) was the best I’ve felt,” said Cuddyer, who is on the 15-day disabled list with an inflamed cervical disk. “It’s definitely gotten better every day.”
Cuddyer got an injection Tuesday and said he was pain-free 48 hours later, just as he was two years ago when he had a shot for the same ailment.
“Yeah, that’s why I wasn’t worried, because I knew 48 hours after the first one, I was fine,” he said.
The 34-year-old Cuddyer was among the league leaders with a .319 batting average to go along with seven homers and 23 RBIs when he went on the DL.
“It stinks. I hate it,” Cuddyer said of having to sit out. “It doesn’t matter who we’re playing, where we’re playing, I don’t like sitting and watching.”
The Rockies’ medical staff hasn’t been able to determine why Cuddyer had a recurrence of his neck problem two years after he first had trouble with it. Either way, Cuddyer said he’s confident that it’s not something that will recur anytime soon.
“It’s been two years since I had the problem,” he said. “So, I’m assuming that I won’t deal with it again this season.”
Manager Walt Weiss said it hasn’t been determined if Cuddyer will go on a rehab assignment when he’s eligible to return May 24.