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Old face returns to Yankees’ lineup Soriano, not A-Rod, makes long-awaited debut for New York

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POSTED July 26, 2013 9:46 p.m.

NEW YORK – The New York Yankees acquired Alfonso Soriano from the Chicago Cubs on Friday, bringing back the seven-time All-Star to give a power boost to a team that desperately needs more pop.

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 are also sending 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 this season, to no avail,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. “By far, he was the best available bat to date.”

Soriano outhomered the Yankees all by himself (10-8) in the four weeks prior to the deal. Overall, the 37-year-old was hitting .254 with 17 homers and 51 RBIs with the Cubs.

The Yankees led the majors with 245 home runs last year, but rank next-to-last in the AL this season with only 88. Banged up, they’ve played most of the year without Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.

Their slump from the right side — Soriano hits righty — is even more acute. It’s been a month since a right-hander homered for the Yankees, with Jayson Nix the last to do it on June 25.

Cashman dares A-Rod to outside exam

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman challenged Alex Rodriguez to have his leg examined by an outside doctor, defending the team’s medical and training staff and saying he wouldn’t comment on “extra noise.” The third baseman claims his left quadriceps really isn’t injured and detailed his frustration during a radio interview, just hours after team management said he wouldn’t be ready to resume minor league rehab games until Aug. 1. Cashman says “the MRI is the MRI. It’s fact. You can’t change the results on an MRI,” then added Friday: “We’re very comfortable with it, and if anybody wants to utilize the process in place with the union, go right ahead. It’s not something we’re afraid of.”

Braves willing to pay to replace Hudson

Braves general manager Frank Wren said Friday the “tightest market I’ve ever seen” could make it difficult for the team to trade for a starting pitcher to replace Tim Hudson. Wren said the Braves have sufficient depth to withstand the loss of Hudson without a trade, but he also says he’s willing to pay for a pitcher who could help them win the World Series. Wren confirmed that Braves special assistant to the general manager Jim Fregosi was in Chicago when Jake Peavy, often mentioned in trade speculation, started for the White Sox on Thursday. The Braves also have been linked with Houston’s Bud Norris and Kansas City’s Ervin Santana. Wren said the trade options are slim.

Tigers’ Cabrera sits again

Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera was held out of Detroit’s starting lineup for a fourth straight game because of an injured left hip. Trainer Kevin Rand says the reigning Triple Crown winner is improving but needs a little more time to recover. The third baseman is hitting a major league-best .358 with 31 home runs and 96 RBIs. Outfielder Torii Hunter also was scratched from Detroit’s lineup for Friday night’s game against Philadelphia.

Season-ending surgery for Gast

St. Louis left-hander John Gast is expected to be ready to pitch in eight to 12 months following season-ending surgery on his left shoulder. Gast was 2-0 with a 5.11 ERA in three starts before he was placed on the disabled list on May 26 with a left shoulder strain.

Good news for Pirates closer Grilli

Jason Grilli’s arm injury was diagnosed as a flexor strain, and there’s a chance the Pittsburgh Pirates’ All-Star closer will pitch again this season.

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