Yangervis Solarte was not going back to the minor leagues. He was ready for his chance at playing in the majors and all he needed was a chance.
“I’m tired of the minors. I feel that I have done everything I could do down there,” Solarte told Bryan Hoch early on in spring training.
In 2012 and 2013, Solarte played for the Rangers’ Triple-A affiliate, the Round Rock Express. In two seasons, he totaled nearly 300 hits, 422 bases, 59 doubles and 23 home runs. With Ian Kinsler, Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus and super-prospects Jurickson Profar and Mike Olt clogging the major league infield at the time, Solarte had no room for advancement.
The New York Yankees were one of 13 teams who inquired about his services, Solarte told the New York Daily News earlier this month. At 26, he spent eight years in the minor leagues, most recently in the Texas Rangers’ system.
The Yankees offered him the best chance to make the major league roster, even though the team’s utility role was anything but available.
Two of Solarte’s first four hits in spring training were home runs and from that point on, he had the team’s attention. He finished with a .429/.489/.571 line and a 1.061 OPS. After securing the 25th spot on the Yankees’ roster, Solarte continued his story in the show.
After Mark Teixeira’s injury, he slipped right in at third base, moving Kelly Johnson over to first and he hasn’t left. He’s currently sporting a .301/.400/.452 line and his eight doubles, 13 RBI and 11 walks are all among the best on the team.
Now he has a hashtag (#TrueYangy), nicknames like “Never Nervous Yangervis” and “the Yangy Clipper,” plus he’s helped turn a triple play. He is the third player since 1914, joining Mike Pagliarulo and Joe DiMaggio, to have at least eight extra base hits in his first 20 games. Solarte even calls one of the best hitters of the last 20 years a close friend and mentor.
“Solarte was trying to find his spot there,” Yankees scout Jay Darnell told the NYDN. Darnell watched Solarte play alongside Olt and Profar in Triple-A and liked what he saw.
“I had never seen him before, but liked the versatility, overall baseball acumen,” Darnell said. “With our need for infielders, I thought he’d be good.”
In spring training, Solarte played third, second, short and even saw time in left field. Solarte may be temporarily slowed by what looks to be his first slump in the majors, but he’s not going anywhere any time soon.