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Yankees' Dellin Betances says he is ready to go for MLB All-Star Game

Bombers superb setup man is having a dream season so far and is looking to contribute for the American League in his first Midsummer Classic.


Dellin Betances, who has enjoyed a dominant first half, says he is ‘expecting to pitch’ in Tuesday’s All-Star Game.

BALTIMORE — Dellin Betances wants the spotlight on one of baseball’s biggest stages.

The Yankees’ set-up man is an All-Star for the first time and wants the chance to take on the National League’s lineup on Tuesday at Target Field in Minneapolis.

“I’m expecting to pitch,” the righthander said Sunday before the series finale between the Bombers and the Orioles at Camden Yards. “Nobody’s told me anything and I know that at times guys don’t get to pitch because they save pitchers in case of extra innings. But I’m ready to pitch. I’m going with the mind-set that I am pitching.”

Betances went into the game 4-0 with one save and a 1.46 ERA. In his 55.1 innings he has struck out a stunning 84. There’s good reason why fellow players voted him on to the team and good reason that Red Sox manager John Farrell should consider getting the 6-8 product of Grand Street Campus High in Brooklyn.

“He’s a real weapon,” Yankees closer David Robertson said.

Robertson and reliever Matt Thornton, who was an All-Star with the White Sox in 2010, have advised Betances to go into the experience looking to soak things in. Betances summed up their suggestions as “enjoy it, take a lot of pictures and have fun” but he added, “Getting into the game would be great — it’s already such an honor just to be on the team.”

Betances was scheduled to fly on Derek Jeter’s charter after the game. He will have a contingent of about 12 there including his parents, two older brothers and a younger sister.

“I hope it just doesn’t go too fast for him,” Joe Girardi said. “The things you get an opportunity to do, and he’s able to soak it in and enjoy what he’s been through in his career and the expectations and how he’s handled them and being able to burst on the scene. I hope he’s able to enjoy it, and enjoy it with his family. Because it means a lot, and it means a lot for players to the people that have helped you out along the way. You can go all the way back to your first coach. You think about those people and you're appreciative.”

Betances is looking forward to being reunited with the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw and Padres’ Tyson Ross, who played with him for Team USA in the Junior Olympics. And he knows there will be players he’s always wanted to get to know.


The big right-hander, a product of Brooklyn's Grand Street Campus High School, is bringing family to Minnesota, but is revving up to get a shot at the National League lineup.

“It will be cool to meet some of those guys from other teams — there’s so many great players,” he said. “I’ll meet them. I’ll pick some of their brains. It’s going to be about having fun and enjoying the experience.”

Girardi said he’d like to see Betances in the game, but he’ll be paying more attention to Jeter in his final Midsummer Classic.

“I am curious to see how it’s handled with Derek. That’s the intrigue of the game for me,” Girardi said.

Told Jeter is hoping not to be the center of attention, Girardi laughed and said, “Yeah, keep thinking that.”

Betances was selected for the team during this road trip, so he did not bring anything special.

“I’ve never been much of a picture taker so I didn't bring a camera of my own,” he said. “My brothers are bringing cameras and I'll tell them to take as many pictures of everything as they can. I'll shoot some stuff with my cell phone.

“I think it will be a lot of great memories.”

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New York Yankees starting pitcher Shane Greene delivers a pitch against the Baltimore Orioles during the first inning of a baseball game, Saturday, July 12, 2014, in Baltimore.

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Ichiro Suzuki of the New York Yankees bats against the Baltimore Orioles in the second inning during a game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on July 12, 2014 in Baltimore, Maryland.

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New York Yankees starting pitcher Shane Greene delivers a pitch against the Baltimore Orioles during the third inning of a baseball game, Saturday, July 12, 2014, in Baltimore.

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New York Yankees starting pitcher Shane Greene delivers a pitch against the Baltimore Orioles during the fifth inning of a baseball game, Saturday, July 12, 2014, in Baltimore. The Yankees won 3-0.

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Starting pitcher Shane Greene of the New York Yankees throws a pitch in the fifth inning during a game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on July 12, 2014 in Baltimore, Maryland.

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Ichiro Suzuki of the New York Yankees takes a lead off first base in the sixth inning during a game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on July 12, 2014 in Baltimore, Maryland.

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Brandon McCarthy gives Yankees strong start in Stadium debut while Brett Gardner, Carlos Beltran lead offensive attack vs. Reds

McCarthy struck out nine and did not walk anyone in his first start this year in the Bronx, allowing only six hits.


Newly acquired Brandon McCarthy gives up just one run over six innings in first Stadium start.

For Brandon McCarthy, the trade from the going-nowhere Diamondbacks to the hopeful Yankees two weeks ago came at the right time, but not only because of the teams’ different places in the standings.

McCarthy considers himself at a point in his nine-year career where “I want to be challenged,” he says. “I want to be close to the playoffs, want to be in a market that’s difficult. I wanted that stuff to see if I could push myself to the next level.”

What bigger challenge could McCarthy face than being counted on to fill a huge hole in the Yankees’ wounded rotation? But with more performances such as his outing Saturday in the Yanks’ 7-1 victory over the Reds, McCarthy and the Bombers might get to the next level together.

McCarthy, in his second start as a Yankee and first at the Stadium, allowed one run and six hits in six innings, striking out nine and walking none. He is 1-0 with a 1.42 ERA in two starts as a Yankee since being acquired for Vidal Nuno on July 6.


Yankees third baseman Kelly Johnson gets in on the action with a 2-RBI hit in the 6th.

Brett Gardner knocked in three runs on two sac flies and an RBI single and Carlos Beltran, who was just activated Friday from the seven-day concussion disabled list, slugged his 10th homer. Kelly Johnson had a two-run single, Brian Roberts scored three times and the Yanks capitalized on a break when Jay Bruce dropped a routine fly ball, leading to a run.

The victory pushed the Yankees to 49-47 and they’ve beaten the Reds in each of the first two games of a 10-game home stand that could put their playoff chances into sharper focus.

The 31-year-old McCarthy was in the midst of a rough season in Arizona, bringing a 3-10 record to the Bronx. But he feels like his stuff was improving toward the end of his Diamondbacks’ tenure and he’s eager to embrace this fresh start.


Derek Jeter collects an RBI hit in the 5th as balanced Yankee attack scores 7 runs.

He says he at least is starting to “feel like myself again and really start with a new page, where you get to prove yourself and everything that happened earlier this season is gone. It’s been a really nice, clearing mental week or two.”

While McCarthy was having a mostly easy time on the mound with the Reds, his wife, Amanda, was experiencing some of the challenges of the Bronx — she was tweeting about being stuck in traffic on the Major Deegan Expressway en route to the game. Told about it, McCarthy, an avid tweeter himself, chuckled.

McCarthy had his own solution — he says he doesn’t plan to drive to work much. “It’s a little different than Arizona,” he said.


Brian Roberts makes a diving stop on a ground ball by Cincinnati Reds' Billy Hamilton.

He certainly solved the challenge of the Reds with little problem. He gave up a solo homer to Chris Heisey in the fifth inning, but not much else. He threw a fastball past Brayan Pena for the final out of the sixth, stranding two runners and completing his day in fine fashion.

It’s the fourth time in his career McCarthy has struck out at least nine without walking anyone, and Saturday was the first time a Yankee pitcher had accomplished that since CC Sabathia did it against the Red Sox on May 31, 2013.

“He was really good,” Joe Girardi said. “He used his fastball extremely effectively . . . located and located down in the corners and had a good sinker.”

McCarthy was happiest about his cutter, actually, a pitch the Diamondbacks had wanted him to abandon. His cutter and sinker can work in concert together, and the Yankees urged McCarthy to throw it more.

“I need it to be successful,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy was also careful not to think about the crowd of 47,606 in the stands or the fact that he was wearing the pinstripes for the first time. “The second you get swept away, you lose your focus, and that’s a good way to make sure your (Stadium) debut is a bad one,” he said.

He doesn’t have to worry about that. Is his next stop the next level?

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Brandon McCarthy of the New York Yankees delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds on July 19, 2014 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.

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Carlos Beltran of the New York Yankees hits a solo home run in the second inning on July 19, 2014 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.

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Brett Gardner of the New York Yankees hits an RBI single in the third inning on July 19, 2014 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.

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Brian Roberts of the New York Yankees hits and reaches second on a fielding error in the third inning on July 19, 2014 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.

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Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees tries to make the catch against the Cincinnati Reds on July 19, 2014 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.

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Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees steals second in the fifth inning as Kris Negron of the Cincinnati Reds is unable to make the tag on July 19, 2014 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.

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Yankees sweep Reds thanks to Brian McCann’s walk- off bloop single against Aroldis Chapman

Jacoby Ellsbury won a nine-pitch battle against the flamethrowing Reds closer by singling to left field. He stole second, took third on a wild pitch and scored on the single.


Jacoby Ellsbury goes 4-for-4 with two stolen bases and scores the winning run Sunday.

The run may have begun.

The definition of mediocre with a 47-47 mark at the All-Star break, the Yankees have charged out for the second half looking to make a drive into the playoffs. The Bombers completed a three-game sweep of the Reds on Sunday, getting to Cincinnati’s flame-throwing Aroldis Chapman for a run in a walk-off 3-2 victory before 43,115 at the Stadium.

Jacoby Ellsbury capped a 4-for-4 afternoon by prevailing through a nine-pitch battle against Chapman — each pitch clocking over 100 mph — that ended with a single to left to start the ninth. He stole second base and took third on a wild pitch before, one out later, Brian McCann’s towering popup touched down on the grass behind first base when none of the three converging fielders went for the catch.

“I saw everybody was looking at each other and there was a chance,” McCann said, referring to first baseman Todd Frazier, second baseman Skip Schumaker and right fielder Jay Bruce. “Luckily for us it fell.”

“I thought I was under it and I was not,” Frazier said. “By the time the ball was coming down it was already too late. . . . I made a mistake, turned my body the wrong way and (it’s) one of those things where I should have caught it.”


Brian McCann’s pop-up in the ninth inning falls between Skip Schumaker (l.) Todd Frazier (c.) and Jay Bruce.

The Yankees underperformed at home before the break, going 18-23. They resumed with 40 of their final 68 to be played at the Stadium and have won the first three.

“We’ve been winning a lot of games on the road. At home we should win more games,” said David Robertson, whose scoreless ninth earned a win. “It just hasn’t worked out that way. It’s only a matter of time.”

“We’re going to have to win at home; our team is built for this ballpark,” McCann said.

The time to make a move is now. The Yankees are three games back of Baltimore in the AL East and play 10 of their next 13 against last-place teams Texas and Boston.


A pop-up off the bat of Brian McCann against Aroldis Chapman is the difference for the Yankees on Sunday, delivering a 3-2 walk-off win for the Bombers.

“You look at that and being home and starting to get some guys going — this is a good opportunity for us,” Joe Girardi said.

“Those are the teams you want to play and you want to win series against,” Robertson said. “Is it going to work out for us? I don’t know. But hopefully we can feed off what we did here this weekend and continue to win ballgames.”

Hiroki Kuroda sparkled as he allowed one unearned run in 6.2 innings of three-hit pitching and left with a 2-1 lead.

Dellin Betances gave up a Frazier homer in the eighth that tied it, just the second home run he has allowed in the 58.1 innings he’s pitched to a 1.54 ERA. “We were all a little bit shocked when it happened, but it just goes to show you that he’s human,” Girardi said.

A Brian Roberts error paved the way for the Reds taking a 1-0 lead in the fifth. The Yankees scored twice in the bottom of the inning, a Derek Jeter single tying the score and an Ellsbury single putting the Yanks up 2-1.

In the ninth, Ellsbury got his first-ever look at Chapman and his blazing fastball.

“It lessens your reaction time. You don’t have much time to think,” he said. “You’ve got to go up there trusting your hands, get your swing ready earlier. I think that’s the first time I’ve seen a pitcher throwing 102 and it’s fun. . . . Fortunately I fouled off some pitches to get a pitch I could hit.”

Ellsbury’s considerable speed took control of the game. On the second pitch to Mark Teixeira he stole his 26th base, his jump so good the Reds didn’t even throw down to second. Three pitches later — Teixeira still up — Chapman threw the wild pitch and he took third.

“He’s the guy that you want because you know he knows what he’s doing and he can steal . . . in that situation,” Girardi said.

Said McCann: “He can do anything on a baseball field you could ever want to do. He showed all his tools today. He set the tone: getting on, stealing second, third on a wild pitch. He gives us a chance.”

More chances lie ahead. The playoff drive may be on.

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Ellsbury solves Reds’ stud closer, then uses legs to help Yanks win


Jacoby Ellsbury bats during the ninth inning, where he'd single off Cincinnati's hard-throwing closer, Aroldis Chapman, and eventually score the winning run.

Facing Cincinnati closer Aroldis Chapman and his 102 mph fastball, the Yankees’ Jacoby Ellsbury explained, is just as much a mental exercise as physical.

“Well, it just lessens your reaction time,” Ellsbury said. “You don’t have much time to think.”

Or to pray.

“You just have to go up there trusting your hands, get your swing ready a little bit earlier,” Ellsbury said. “I think that’s the firmest I’ve seen a pitcher throwing 102. Yeah, it’s firm.”

So Ellsbury trusted his hands and his reactions and led off the bottom of the ninth with a single, his season high-tying fourth hit of the game. From there, he trusted his legs and his instincts.

Ellsbury stole second against the lefty Chapman, then advanced to third on a wild pitch and eventually scored the winning run on Brian McCann’s dunk single that fell among three Reds in short right field as the Yankees completed a three-game sweep with a 3-2 victory Sunday at Yankee Stadium.

“It’s not every day you see someone throwing 102. You just try to put a good at-bat together, hope to put something hard in play,” Ellsbury said. “Fortunately, I fouled some pitches to get a pitch I could hit.

“Just trying to relax, not do too much. Someone is throwing that hard you want to be nice and relaxed, maybe shorten up your swing a little bit.”

Ellsbury strung together a terrific at bat. He sent Chapman’s ninth pitch, a mere 101 mph offering, into left to ignite the winning sequence.

“That’s a guy throwing 100 mph plus. Stay in there, foul off some pitches,” manager Joe Girardi said, explaining the approach, leaving out the part about wearing body armor and a triple-lined helmet.

And once Ellsbury was aboard, Chapman was essentially swatting at a mosquito in a swamp.

“In that situation, [you’re] just trying to scrape one run across, I’m trying to get in scoring position as fast as possible. Good thing I did,” said Ellsbury who previously had two singles — one for a fifth-inning RBI — a double and a walk.

“He can do anything on the base paths. He showed off all his tools today, set the tone,” McCann said.

“That’s a big deal. You know he knows what he’s doing,” Girardi said of Ellsbury reaching base. “He can steal second, steal third.”

Or steal second and move up on a wild pitch. McCann then delivered the one-out game-ending hit for the sweep.

“Guys [in] the last three games have put tremendous at-bats together, one through nine in the lineup. When you do that good things happen,” Ellsbury said. “It just makes it tough on the opposing pitchers.”

Even the ones throwing 102 mph.

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Newcomers to rotation thriving for Yankees


Brandon McCarthy and Shane Greene have helped a Yankees rotation which is currently without four-fifths of its Opening Day starting rotation.

You don’t have to be a baseball lifer to recognize the ramifications of a team losing four-fifths of its projected starting rotation to injury even before the All-Star break.

But you also don’t have to spend 24/7 around a ballpark to know that in losing the present-day version of CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda in addition to Masahiro Tanaka, the Yankees haven’t exactly been deprived of sending David Cone, David Wells and Orlando Hernandez to the mound every fifth day.

Maybe down the road the lack of pedigree in the rotation will become a significant impediment in the hunt for a playoff spot. Maybe a staff with a handful of starters who would have seemed more at home in split-squad games in March in Tampa than in pennant-chase baseball in July and August in The Bronx will eventually undermine the Yankees.

But not yet. And not this weekend, which concluded with Sunday’s 3-2 victory at the Stadium over the Reds that completed a three-game sweep in which the Yankees were gifted with quality starts from first David

Phelps, then Brandon McCarthy and finally Hiroki Kuroda, who combined to surrender a sum of three earned runs in 19 innings of work.

“To be honest, our guys have been doing it all year,” said Brian McCann, who brought home Jacoby Ellsbury from third base with the winning run in the bottom of the ninth when his pop fly into shallow right fell among three befuddled Cincinnati fielders. “Our pitchers have been consistent all season long.”

Whether the originals or the replacements, the starters other than Tanaka have not been dominant. But they have been respectable. They have given the Yankees a chance to at least remain part of the postseason conversation in a season during which mystique and aura appear only on the scoreboard video screens and on designated plaque days.

The Yankees have gotten essentially middle-of-the-road work from the rotation overall, the starters tied for the seventh-best ERA in the AL (3.92) and the 11th-most innings in the league. But it’s been better lately, noticeably better, with their starters having surrendered three earned runs or fewer in each of the last eight games, compiling a 1.99 ERA over that span.

That would be from the firm of Kuroda, McCarthy, Phelps, Shane Greene and Chase Whitley, and in the eight games since Tanaka’s last start in Cleveland on July 8.

“These guys have the ability to step up; they do,” Joe Girardi said after the victory gave his team a three-game winning streak for the first time in a month. “They have to understand that if they make their pitches, they’re going to get people out.

“I’ve said that for us to make noise, we have to get distance out of them.”

Kuroda, who was touched for one unearned run in 6 ²/₃ innings before yielding to Dellin Betances, was masterful in limiting the Reds to three hits, mixing his sinker, slider and splitter effectively throughout. At 39, he is the lone man standing from the original starting five.

“I’ve thought about that more than once, that the last guys standing is the oldest,” Girardi said. “It’s partly [due to] how he conditions himself. It’s also partly genetic.”

A year ago, Kuroda faded down the stretch, going 0-6 with 6.56 ERA over his final eight starts. Girardi has responded by, if not babying Kuroda, then by monitoring him closely. Of course he has. That’s called managing.

“You have to be cautious, but maybe we can push him a little more,” Girardi said. “If he’d been overworked and not pitching as well, people would want to know why, and it [would be] because he’s overworked. It’s a fine line.”

Kuroda has thrown 123 innings, 20th most in the league, after throwing 201 innings last season and a career-high 219 two years ago.

“How I am used is up to the manager,” Kuroda said. “You can’t replace any of my teammates, but when you go to the mound you have to make sure you give your team a chance to win.

“Injuries or not, I take pride in taking responsibility.”

In 2005, original rotation members Carl Pavano, Jaret Wright and Kevin Brown all went down with injuries.

So after a spell did Chien-Ming Wang. The Yankees traded for Shawn Chacon and promoted Aaron Small, who responded by going a combined 17-3 and helping lead the team to the AL East title even though only Randy Johnson and Mike Mussina were healthy enough to make 30 starts.

This isn’t then, when the Yankees bludgeoned their way to the postseason. But it does prove that it can be done, and that a team can overcome.

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Hiroki Kuroda of the New York Yankees pitches against the Cincinnati Reds during their game at Yankee Stadium on July 19, 2014 in the Bronx borough of New York City.

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Jacoby Ellsbury of the New York Yankees drives in a run with a single in the fifth inning against the Cincinnati Reds during their game at Yankee Stadium on July 19, 2014 in the Bronx borough of New York City.

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Jacoby Ellsbury of the New York Yankees gets a hit in the ninth inning against the Cincinnati Reds during their game at Yankee Stadium on July 19, 2014 in the Bronx borough of New York City.

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Brian McCann of the New York Yankees drives in the game winning run with a single in the ninth inning against the Cincinnati Reds during their game at Yankee Stadium on July 19, 2014 in the Bronx borough of New York City.

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Chase Headley drives in winning run in debut as Yankees walk off with win over Rangers

'I’m excited to be here,' Headley said after being doused with Gatorade by Brett Gardner. 'I can’t wait to help and do my job.'


Chase Headley makes a splash in his Yankee debut, throwing his arm in the air while celebrating his game-winning single.

Welcome to New York, Chase Headley.

Less than 12 hours after being traded, the newest Yankee made his presence felt immediately, lifting the Bombers to a 2-1 walk-off victory over the Rangers with a single in the 14th inning.

“There’s a lot of nerves there,” Headley said. “But I kind of stepped out of the box and I thought to myself, ‘Why not? Why wouldn’t this day go this way?’ I was able to enjoy it.”

Jacoby Ellsbury singled in the tying run against closer Joakim Soria in the bottom of the 13th to give the Bombers new life, setting up Headley’s big moment.

“When I found out (about the trade), obviously you have mixed emotions when you’ve been at a place for as long as I’ve been in San Diego,” Headley said. “But I couldn’t be happier to be a Yankee. It’s unbelievable. I can’t even believe I’m saying that. Long day, but great way to finish.”

The Yankees’ comeback was necessary after J.P. Arencibia took David Huff deep to lead off the 13th for the game’s first run.


Chase Headley (c.) celebrates with his new teammates and manager Joe Girardi.

“I’ve said it all along; they fight,” Joe Girardi said. “This team doesn’t give up.”

Headley landed at LaGuardia Airport around 6:30 p.m., arriving at the Stadium about a half-hour into the game. He changed quickly into his new pinstripes and walked into the dugout, introducing himself to his new teammates before settling in for the game.

Headley got the call to pinch-hit for Zelous Wheeler in the eighth, striking out in his first at-bat. He grounded out in both the 11th and the 12th, the latter with two out and the bases loaded in the scoreless game.

“You’ve got to want to be up in that spot,” Headley said. “Had a chance earlier, wasn’t able to get it done. I was fortunate to come back around and have (another) opportunity.”

The Yankees acquired Headley from the Padres on Tuesday afternoon for infielder Yangervis Solarte and minor-league pitcher Rafael De Paula. The Yankees also received $1 million from San Diego to pay part of the $4 million still owed to Headley this season.

“We think he’s an upgrade,” general manager Brian Cashman said. “We feel like we’re at least getting an average everyday major-leaguer at that position and maybe more. We’ll see.”

Headley had a breakout season in 2012, batting .286/.376/.498 with 31 home runs and a National League-best 115 RBI, finishing fifth in NL MVP voting while winning a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger. He’s posted a .243/.330/.384 slash line with 20 homers and 82 RBI in 218 games since the start of last season while battling a number of injuries. The 30-year-old landed on the disabled list with a calf injury in late-April and has dealt with knee, bicep and back issues this season.

Headley had an epidural injection on June 20 for a herniated disc in his back, a shot that Cashman believes helped him regain his stroke as he hit .298/.330/.405 in his previous 21 games.

Cashman had been trying to acquire Headley for the past three weeks, although a source said the GM was also trying to pry outfielder Chris Denorfia away from the Padres before making the deal for Headley.

Headley, who is making $10.5 million this season, will be a free agent at the end of the year. Asked whether this should be viewed as an audition for a new contract, Cashman — who will have Alex Rodriguez returning from his suspension next season — sidestepped the topic.


Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli tags Rangers’ Robinson Chirinos out at the plate on Daniel Robinson's fifth-inning single.

“I can’t predict 2015 and what our needs will or won’t be,” Cashman said. “That’s not what this is all about.”

Solarte hit .254 with six home runs and 31 RBI in 75 games this season, although his production dropped off dramatically in the past two months. De Paula, 23, was 6-5 with a 4.15 ERA in 20 games (17 starts) with Class-A Tampa this season.

Headley’s name surfaced as a possible trade target after the 2012 season when A-Rod underwent his second hip surgery, but the price would have been astronomical following Headley’s monster season.

“If I had a vacancy at third base, which clearly I had, then I’m sure I inquired about him, yes,” Cashman said. “But he was an easier get this time than when I made that call, clearly.”

The Yankees have now made two trades in the past two weeks to bolster their roster, acquiring Headley and Brandon McCarthy without giving up any of their top prospects.

“We’re hoping that we can get a jolt from every single addition that we bring in here,” Cashman said. “We’re going keep sifting through it and try to find ways to improve this club so we can get the team where it needs to be, which is qualifying for the playoffs.”

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Whitley starts second half in style with six-plus shutout innings


Chase Whitley

Chase Headley’s game-winning hit will be the lasting memory from his Yankees debut, but Chase Whitley’s unexpectedly strong pitching performance is what the team will need to stay in contention in the second half of the season.

Making his first appearance since the All-Star break, the rookie right-hander snapped out of a month-long slump, turning in what may have been the best start of his young career, as he threw six-plus shutout innings while striking out six in the Yankees’ night’s 2-1, 14-inning win over the Rangers Tuesday night in The Bronx.

“I went into this one like it was a new beginning, the second half of the season,” Whitley said. “I felt good. I felt like I was in command.”

With 80 percent of the starting rotation on the disabled list, Whitley finally gave the Yankees what they needed, though the 25-year-old received nothing in return.

Pitching at least five innings for the first time since June 18, Whitley (4-3) allowed seven hits, but threw the longest scoreless outing of his career, giving the Yankees anemic offense plenty of time to offer support. Instead, the lineup went 12 innings without scoring a run, amassing only four hits through the first 11 innings.

Struggling over his past four starts, Whitley showed resilience from the beginning, brushing aside his ballooned ERA of 5.10 and bringing back the success of his first seven starts, when he posted a 2.56 ERA. Following Tuesday’s no-decision, Whitley’s ERA dropped to 4.60.

“He was great,” manager Joe Girardi said. “He had an outstanding performance tonight, got into the seventh inning for us.

“I thought his stuff was really sharp. I thought his changeup was really good. I thought his slider was sharp and I think the rest helped him.”

Whitley was tested several times, surrendering a leadoff hit in each of the first four innings.

In the second inning, Leonys Martin opened with a leadoff single, in which the center fielder took an extra base after Zelous Wheeler’s throwing error. Though Martin reached third after a wild pitch with no outs, Whitley recovered, inducing a ground ball from J.P. Arencibia, striking out Robinson Chirinos and getting another ground ball from Rougned Odor to end the inning unscathed.

Whitley would leave the scoreless tie in the seventh inning, after giving up a leadoff single to Adrian Beltre, having thrown 75 pitches.

“The workload had gotten to me a little bit, but today I was able to attack from pitch one,” Whitley said. “I was just getting ahead of hitters, attacking and being aggressive. Other than that, it was really nothing different.

“When you go through struggles, it’s a test of character. You got to get through it. You just have to keep battling.Even when times weren’t good out there, I just felt like I was battling.”

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Yankees 1B Mark Teixeira to miss 3-4 games with mild lower lat strain

Teixeira, the team leader in RBI (48) and home runs (17), says the injury has bothered him on and off since the Bombers played in Oakland in mid-June. He expected to get a PRP shot later Monday night.


Mark Teixeira continues to be nagged by injuries, this time a lower lat strain will keep him out at least 3-4 days.

Four days into the second half of the season, the injury bug has bitten the Yankees once again.

Mark Teixeira was out of the lineup on Monday night against the Rangers with a mild, Grade 1 strain in the lower lat muscle on the left side of his back. Joe Girardi says he intends to rest Teixeira for three or four days, but does not believe the slugger will need to be placed on the disabled list.

“I thought the year off last year would give me a fountain of youth, (but) it’s just made me rusty,” said Teixeira, who missed the bulk of last season with a torn tendon sheath in his right wrist. “The pain really ratcheted up in the last few days. That’s when we decided to get the MRI because something wasn’t right.”

Teixeira, the team leader in RBI (48) and home runs (17), says he has been dealing with back spasms since the Bombers played in Oakland in mid-June and that the area has bothered him ever since. He expected to get a PRP shot later Monday night.

Though the Yanks swept the Reds over the weekend, Teixeira finished 0-for-12 in the series with five strikeouts. Girardi was asked whether he felt as though the injury could explain Teixeira’s recent struggles.

“I don’t know. It could be,” Girardi said. “These guys right now are always dealing with aches and pains. It’s been his lat. There’s been a couple of other little things, his neck was kind of stiff a day, so you don’t know if it’s all related.”

“I think if we were concerned, really concerned, we’d put him on the DL right away,” he continued. “We’re hoping that after three or four days maybe he feels okay and maybe we can get him back in there.”

The Yankees have been hit the hardest by injuries to their rotation, with CC Sabathia (knee), Masahiro Tanaka (elbow) Ivan Nova (elbow) and Michael Pineda (shoulder) all being shelved with various ailments. But position players have also nursed injuries throughout the year, including Teixeira, who missed 14

games with a right hamstring strain in April. Teixeira played in over 150 games in each of his first three seasons with the Yankees, but has struggled to stay healthy since.

“When I went down in Toronto with that adductor, hamstring thing, it was like, man, it shouldn’t be this hard to play baseball any more,” Teixeira said. “But you grind through it, and hopefully when you are out there, you’re productive. It may not be for 160 games anymore, but when I’m out there, I want to produce for my team.”

With Teixeira unavailable, Girardi turned to Kelly Johnson to start at first. Entering Monday night, Johnson was batting .189 with two homers and 10 RBI in 25 games as the Yankees first baseman. Brian McCann, Francisco Cervelli, Brendan Ryan and

Carlos Beltran have also all played first this year and could conceivably start there if needed. The Yankees hope, obviously, is that a replacement won’t be needed for too long.

Despite the various injuries plaguing his club, Girardi says there is no room for excuses in the Yankees clubhouse.

“I’ve always said it’s an opportunity for other people when you deal with injuries and it’s an opportunity to prove yourself for some younger players that might get called up a little bit before people expect them to,” Girardi said. “I think you just have to have the attitude that no matter what happens, we’re going to press on.

We’re out there to win games and that’s what we’re going to do. We’re not going to make excuses because obviously nobody’s going to feel sorry for us. … These are grown men playing the game and you have to find a way.”

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With Texas Rangers Shin Soo-Choo on first base, New York Yankees starting pitcher Chase Whitley delivers in a baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York, Tuesday, July 22, 2014.

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