Since Mark Teixiera went on the disabled list April 5 with a strained right hamstring, the $200 million Bronx Bombers have cobbled together a platoon at first base.
Kelly Johnson made his 10th start at first this season for Wednesday’s doubleheader opener against the Chicago Cubs. In the other two games after Teixeira’s injury, catcher Francisco Cervelli started at first twice.
Coming into the season, neither had started at first - although Johnson had shifted there three times during games.
And when Cervelli strained his right hamstring in the fourth inning Sunday, Carlos Beltran took over for Cervelli at first against Boston. Beltran had made 1,970 big league starts in the outfield and not a single appearance at first base in a 17-year career.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi had little choice but to use the player signed during the offseason to a $45 million, three-year contract because New York also was without second baseman Brian Roberts (sore back) and shortstop Derek Jeter (tight right quadriceps).
New York planned to start Jeter at shortstop the second game of the doubleheader. Roberts said he felt better, but the Yankees were likely to hold him out Wednesday because of temperatures in the 30s and 40s.
The Yankees brought up Scott Sizemore from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after Cervelli was hurt. Coming off two injury wrecked seasons, Sizemore said he briefly worked out at first in Scranton but he doesn’t even own a first baseman’s glove.
Solarte played first base once in 627 minor league games and hasn’t played there - yet - in the big leagues.
The makeshift plans will have to do until Teixeira comes back. He’s eligible to come off the DL on Sunday and he’s at the Yankees‘ facility in Tampa, Fla. Girardi said he’s not sure when the switch-hitter will play in a rehab game but he is working out.
NOTES: Sizemore has a one-year contract paying $800,000 in the majors and $210,000 in the minors. He can earn $150,000 in performance bonuses based on plate appearances: $10,000 for 350, $20,000 for 400, $30,000 for 450, $40,000 for 500 and $50,000 for 550. He can be optioned back to the minors this year.