“This is my house, this is my home,” he said. “I’m happy I have the opportunity to come back to New York _ 10 years.”
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 will send 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, to no avail, throughout this season,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. “By far, he is the best available bat to date.”
The Bronx Bombers led the majors with 245 home runs last year, but have become the Bronx burn-outs this season, ranking next-to-last in the AL with only 88. Banged up, they’ve played most of the year without Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.
Soriano got a big ovation when the public-address announcer read the lineups and welcomed him with “and once again a Yankee.” Soriano saluted the stadium’s Bleacher Creatures during their roll call, and was cheered again when his past Yankees highlights were shown on the video board.
Wearing his socks high, Soriano got an assist when his throw led to an inning-ending out in the top of the second. He led off the bottom half and flied out.
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, 6 1/2 games behind division-leading Boston.