It might have not been noticeable to many outside the Yankee organization but with recent long-term and nagging day-to-day injuries, the lineup was becoming too left-handed and susceptible against lefties.
That was the primary reason for general manager Brian Cashman’s acquisition of infielder Casey McGehee from the Pirates in the final minutes before Tuesday’s 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline. The Yankees made their second trade with the Pirates in five months, sending reliever Chad Qualls and cash considerations back to Pittsburgh
After pounding Toronto left-handed starter Ricky Romero for six runs and 12 hits on July 18, the Yankees were hitting .267 against southpaws. Since that point they have lost eight of 11 and their average against lefties has been .237 (34-for-144) which has dropped the team’s overall mark to .263.
In that span, the Yankees have lost Alex Rodriguez to a broken left hand and have dealt with nagging day-to-day injuries to Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira. Since losing Rodriguez was injured last Tuesday, the Yankees are hitting .172 (10-for-58) off lefties.
“Obviously with the Alex injury, he gives us another right-handed bat,” Cashman said. “We’ve obviously become pretty left-handed especially with the recent temporary loss of Swish and Tex going down three to five days.
“We’re pretty left-handed so it just gives Joe more choices. He can be a right-handed bat off the bench, can play first base and third base and he can DH. So it gives Joe some flexibility as he matches up, whether it’s putting a starting lineup together or matching up later in the game.”
McGehee will join the Yankees for Wednesday’s afternoon game. In his first year with the Pirates, McGehee was batting .230 with eight home runs and 35 RBI in 92 games. He is batting .250 against lefties and .222 against righties.
During his five-year career, McGehee is a .260 hitter against lefties and his showing this year against them is a significant improvement from his .160 mark last year in Milwaukee. However, his .160 mark against lefties followed 2010 when he batted .316 against them.
During his time with the Pirates, McGeehee appeared in 77 games at first and made 59 starts. He only appeared in nine games at third, but has played there 386 times since making his major league debut on Sept. 2, 2008.
“We feel that [McGehee] can play third and first for us,” manager Joe Girardi said. “With some of the trouble we’ve got going physically with some of the guys — with Tex not being available for a few days, with Alex not being available for weeks — this is a guy that has put up big numbers in his career, and we’re hoping he can helps us.”
The trade happened toward the end of the deadline because Pittsburgh was unsure if it was going to be able swing other deals. Pirates general manager Neal Huntington gave Cashman advanced notice and when he was able to acquire Gaby Sanchez from the Marlins that further pushed along the trade.
“We talked about it here in the past week as Neal was working through some things on his end,” Cashman said. “The player would become available under certain circumstances if we did a few things. He just wanted to give me a head’s up early in the week, [saying] I might be calling you if a couple of things work out a certain way.”
No starting pitcher for the Yankees
The last starting pitcher obtained by Cashman at the deadline was Cory Lidle when he was part of the 2006 trade that landed Bobby Abreu from the Phillies. That trend continued this year as the Yankees did not acquire Ryan Dempster.
Dempster did not approve a deal to Atlanta earlier this month when he invoked his 10 and 5 rights, giving a player with 10 years service and five years with one team the right to approve trades. He seemed headed to the Dodgers, but reportedly said he would have approved a trade to the Yankees had it occurred.
Instead, Dempster went to the Rangers, who made the move after seeing Roy Oswalt get pounded for eight runs and 11 hits against the Angels Monday night. The move also occurred after Texas lost Colby Lewis to a season-ending elbow injury.
As for the Yankees, Cashman did not comment if the Yankees looked into obtaining Dempster.
“Obviously, the deadline process, you listen to a lot of different things,” Cashman said. “You have a lot of different conversations. Some initiated by us, some initiated by them, them being any of the 29 clubs. I would say, or I wouldn’t confirm who we were talking to and about what. But there’s a lot of things that get presented, ideas thrown around, a lot of different concepts.”
Inflamed wrist for Teixeira
Mark Teixeira spent part of Tuesday morning at New York Presbyterian Hospital being examined by team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad and Dr. Melvin Rosenwasser. Part of that examination included an MRI, which revealed inflammation in his left wrist.
Teixeira said he originally suffered the injury in his third at-bat Sunday against the Red Sox and tweaked it trying to make a diving stop Monday night. He will not pick up a bat in the next three days with hopes that treatment and a cortisone shot will be successful.
“The best case is I’d love to be able to get here early on Friday, swing the bat and tell Joe that I’d be able to play,” he said. “But we’ll see. We’re going to take it easy the next couple of days, treat it and see where we are Friday.
He also said that injury is similar to an injury he suffered during 2009 and nowhere near the level of pain that he felt in his foot the following year.
“I know my body pretty well,” Teixeira said. “I know when something is hurting and sore. I know when something is seriously injured. I didn’t think I was seriously injured. I thought like I had aggravated something and it was sore and that’s what we found.”
Joba on his way to New York
Joba Chamberlain was slated to continue his rehab with Double-A Trenton and encountered no traffic on the way the Thunder’s ballpark. When he arrived there, he was told to head back to New York.
The Yankees decided to activate him after sending Qualls to the Pirates. According to Chamberlain’s Twitter feed, @Joba_62, he encountered no traffic on the George Washington Bridge.
“I talked to my trainer earlier today,” Cashman said. “Just said, ‘Hey listen, if I make a trade and I lose Chad Qualls, is there any medical reason that would be of concern to activate Joba tonight?’ He said no. I said, ‘OK, as of right now, keep him on line in Trenton, but if I move on Qualls for McGehee, then obviously I would reinstate Joba.’
“We put this together; we finalized it just before the deadline. I just grabbed my trainer [and] said, ‘Track Joba down. Tell him to get here rather than there.’ He may be en route to Trenton. He may be in Trenton. But he’ll be here tonight at some point.”
Follow Yankees beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.