Continued from page 1

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 are 54-49 and in fourth place in the AL East, seven games behind division-leading Tampa Bay.

Soriano got his old No. 12, with Vernon Wells shifting to No. 22. The Yankees optioned outfielder Thomas Neal to Triple-A to make room for Soriano.

Soriano waived his no-trade clause to rejoin his old team. He was popular with teammates and fans for five seasons before New York traded him to Texas in a deal for Rodriguez.

“He’s played there before,” 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.

In the 2001 World Series, Soriano hit a home run that almost became part of the Yankees‘ lore. His go-ahead shot in the eighth inning off Curt Schilling in Game 7 put New York close to another championship, but Arizona rallied in the ninth to win it.

A free swinger, Soriano is known more for power than getting on base. He’s drawn just 15 walks in 93 games this season.

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 Texas and pitcher Scott Feldman to Baltimore.

Chicago was fourth in the NL Central at 45-55 when it made the deal. Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said Soriano impressed him, on and off the field.

“I think when I came here, for some reason I was under the impression that he would be a negative in the clubhouse and someone that was out for himself, someone who didn’t play the game hard all the time. I was quickly disavowed of that notion,” Epstein said.

Story Continues →