Go West, Young Man, or, to be Chased out of the Bronx
The notion that Yangervis Solarte was a 26-year-old diamond-in-the-rough–a .330 hitter trapped in the purgatory of the Texas Rangers/Minnesota Twins farm system—has likely been put to rest. After a wonderful April and May, during which he challenged for the league lead in batting, Yangervis fell to earth and was eventually sent to the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
With the help of former Twin standout Butch Wynegar, now a hitting instructor for the Yankees, Yangervis began to pounce on the first pitch, and went 12-for-20 in five minor-league games. He was quickly back to the Bronx, and then, with the July 31 trade deadline looming, on to San Diego as part of a trade for third baseman Chase Headley.
Perhaps both players will recover their form with new teams on new coastlines. Yangervis, who turned 27 on 7/7, will get to play alongside fellow Venezuelan Alexi Amarista, the Padres’ shortstop and all-rounder. Both players can play all the infield positions left of first base, an invaluable commodity.
In their first game together, the duo flew out of the gate, Solarte slamming a triple and a single while walking once; Amarista walked and stole a base as the Pods won 8-3. The three digits on the Chi-side of the scoreboard came courtesy of Luis Valbuena’s three-run homer. (Apparently not wanting to be outdone by the Yangervis and Alexi show.)
Amarista is a guy they used to call in the old days a “banjo hitter”—I think the term coming from the fact that he’d need a banjo to actually make contact. But the little guy from Barcelona, VZ—he’s an Altuve-sized 5’6” and 150 lbs.—is a decent fielder and a one-time All Star for both Rancho Cucamonga and Cedar Rapids. The man can play in any time zone.
Speaking of comebacks, big Cleveland righty Carlos Carrasco has had a renaissance as a middle reliever. In his past 10 appearances, he’s struck out 15 batters in 15 innings with a .0.57 ERA and his first career save. Perhaps the pressure of starting didn’t sit well with the man from Barquisimeto (home of the other Cardenales), but we’re sure Terry Francona is pleased to have him as a reliable bullpen option. Over his career, Carlos has spit the bit as a starter, but seems confident as a reliever. In a recent 8th inning appearance, he set down compatriots Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez, as well as non-compatriot J.D. Martinez, to set up an Indians victory.
On Wednesday, Carrasco pitched one inning of shutout ball, while on the opposite side Oswaldo Celestino Arcia continued to learn the ropes as a Minnesota outfielder. Oswaldo has 9 hits in his last 10 games and is inching above the Mendoza zone at .222. Against the Tribe, his 2-for-4 effort included his sixth home run. Meanwhile, his brother Orlando is rated highly as an infield prospect and is currently working his way up through the Brewers organization with the Brevard County Manatees.
And this just in, in the “don’t call it a comeback!” department: the Mets have recalled young Wilmer Flores from AAA Las Vegas for his third stint in the big show this season. The move was necessitated by Ruben Tejada’s beaning in Seattle; Flores will start tonight at shortstop in Milwaukee.
In a final note on Wednesday’s games, Anibal Sanchez proved it’s sometimes better to be lucky than good, as he got boxed around for 11 hits and 5 runs by a Venezuelan-heavy Arizona lineup (say that three times fast!). But Anibal has Miguel Cabrera and other heavy lumber on his side, and Miggy’s 15th home run led an 11-run Tiger onslaught and made Gerardo Parra and Martin Prado’s earlier doubles against Sanchez moot points. Miggy and Victor Martinez are back in sync in the heart of the Detroit order, and both went 2-for-4. In this topsy-turvy, non-stop-interleague calendar, Sanchez also had to bat for himself and went 0-for-3.