Yangervis Solarte may have hit a snag Wednesday night when he grounded into a game ending double play, but no one can argue that he’s been one of the Yankees’ most productive players so far this season. His story has been well documented over these past few weeks as the classic “they took a chance on him” story that has made so many people smile. It wasn’t easy by any means. Solarte spent nine years in the minor leagues before being signed by the Yankees this past off season. He was sparkling in spring training and just barely edged out the old golden boy Eduardo Nunez. Solarte has been so exciting to watch and when you go out and hit 6 doubles and bat in 7 runs with a .429 batting average like he has, you’re going to get some attention. So when exactly did the Yankees see that Solarte could be a keeper? Yankees’ hitting coach Kevin Long says it was after the youngster’s first at-bat:
I asked him about it after it happened and that’s when I knew he would be OK. He went through each pitch — what each one was and where each one was. Most guys can’t remember anything about that first one.
He’s been a new breed of Yankee. Solarte is playing each game with enthusiasm and electric intensity…that constant sense of urgency that has been missing in the Bronx for quite some time. He’s humble and thankful for every moment he’s on the field and he’s already turning into a fan favorite in New York. If the New York Yankees saw something in the 26-year-old after his first at-bat, he may actually be something special. Keep an eye on the Yankees’ new third baseman because if the Bombers are right, he could just be a keeper.