Back in January, the Yankees signed a little-known infielder who had never before played in the majors named Yangervis Solarte to a minor league contract. At the time, no one really thought much at all of the signing. Now, three months later, Solarte has become a rookie sensation and has made himself the early talk of the town with his incredible offensive prowess.
While there have been some other hot hitters in the Yankees’ lineup as well, Solarte has been untouchable, continuing to carry the offensive torch for the Yankees game in and game out. Solarte played himself onto the roster this spring by hitting .429/.489/.571 with two homers in 47 plate appearances. Most years, that would mean very little, seeing as the Yankees usually tend to have limited roster space. This year was different though. When backup shortstop Brendan Ryan was put on the DL late in spring training, manager Joe Girardi announced it would be between longtime Yankees’ infielder Eduardo Nunez, and Solarte for the last spot on the roster.
The Yankees’ decision came down to the wire (though it shouldn’t have), but Solarte ultimately emerged the victor. Since then, Solarte has carried over his hot hitting from the spring into the regular season. Solarte made his major league debut for the Yankees as a pinch-hitter in the team’s second game of the season, banging into a rally killing double play in his first at-bat, and finished 0-for-2 on the day. However, he turned it around the next game, and hasn’t looked back, getting the start the next day, and going 3-for-3 with a double. He went 2-for-5 with two doubles the next day. Then 2-for-3 the next day. Then 1-for-3 with a double the next day and 1-for-3 with a walk the day after that.
Tuesday, Solarte went 2-for-4 with two doubles. He got into the lineup and he hasn’t given Girardi a reason or even an opportunity to take him out. “As long as he keeps on producing, we’ll keep running him out there,” Girardi said after another stellar performance Tuesday. Not surprisingly, Solarte has also established himself as a fan favorite, getting one of the loudest ovations of any Yankee during Monday’s home opener. So far on the young season, Solarte is batting an astounding .458 with eleven hits, six of them for doubles, which is currently the league lead. Solarte’s six doubles through seven games is also the most for any player since 1914. Not bad for a guy who spent nine years in the minors. Will this type of production last? Who knows? But right now, Solarte is living his dream, and the Yankees are more than happy to keep running him, and his hot bat out there.