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Pregame notes: Yankees make surprise move at the deadline

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First the basics…

1. The Yankees have officially announced their trade for corner infielder Casey McGehee. The Yankees are sending reliever Chad Qualls to the Pirates, and the Pirates are including cash in the deal.

2. McGehee isn’t expected to be here until tomorrow. For now, he’s not active.

3. Joba Chamberlain was on his way to Trenton for a rehab appearance, but he’s been told to turn around and drive back to Yankee Stadium. He’ll be active for tonight’s game, replacing Qualls in the bullpen.

[2]Now, the details…

Some time in the last week, Brian Cashman talked to Pirates general manager Neal Huntington about McGehee. The Yankees liked the idea of a right-handed corner infielder to help fill the Alex Rodriguez hole, and the Pirates weren’t getting more than platoon production out of McGehee at first base.

“Neal was working through some things on his end,” Cashman said. “The player would become available under certain circumstances, if they did a few things. He just wanted to give me a heads up earlier in the week, ‘Hey, I might be calling you if a couple of things work out a certain way. So it’s possible on the 31st, I might have a conversation if you’re still interested in that certain situation.’ I said fine, so we were prepared for it, and a call did come. So we obviously just had to work through what would work and what wouldn’t.”

The Pirates traded for first baseman Gaby Sanchez earlier today, and that trade obviously made McGehee available. The Yankees gave Qualls, who seemed all but certain to be designated for assignment within a few days anyway when Chamberlain came off the disabled list.

“We feel that (McGehee) can play third and first for us,” Joe Girardi said. “With some of the trouble we’ve got going physically with some of the guys — with Tex not being available for a few days, with Alex not being available for weeks — this is a guy that has put up big numbers in his career, and we’re hoping he can helps us.”

McGehee’s overall numbers are far worse than they were two or three years ago, but he is hitting .250/.344/.463 against lefties this season. He brings some balance to a lineup that has been extremely left-handed without Rodriguez. He can help fill the temporary void at first base, and he can slide into somewhat regular duty at third. Having McGehee to play third makes it easier to use Jayson Nix at shortstop and second base so that Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano can get a few DH days against lefties.

“Until you get what you want, which is a World Series trophy, you’re never comfortable,” Cashman said. “You’re always looking at ways to try to improve your club. Obviously you’re not allowed to do so after August 31, other than what you have. The only time that mentality stops is if you’re the last team standing. Otherwise, you were never close enough.”

[3]• Mark Teixeira was relieved by today’s diagnosis of inflammation in his left wrist. He had his wrist in a brace today and won’t play until Friday at the earliest. “Very relieved,” he said. “But it’s what I expected. When you’re injured, you can tell if something’s seriously wrong. I didn’t feel like there was something seriously wrong. I just felt like my wrist was sore and I needed to get it fixed.”

• The Yankees weren’t entirely sure how quickly Chamberlain could get to Yankee Stadium, but he’s expected to be here at some point tonight. “I talked to my trainer earlier today,” Cashman said. “Just said, ‘Hey listen, if I make a trade and I lose Chad Qualls, is there any medical reason that would be of concern to activate Joba tonight?’ He said no. I said, ‘OK, as of right now, keep him on line in Trenton, but if I move on Qualls for McGehee, then obviously I would reinstate Joba.’ … We put this together, we finalized it just before the deadline. I just grabbed my trainer (and) said, ‘Track Joba down. Tell him to get here rather than there.’ He may be in route to Trenton. He may be in Trenton. But he’ll be here tonight at some point.”

• Cashman wouldn’t comment on whether he was close to trading for Ryan Dempster. “Obviously, the deadline process, you listen to a lot of different things,” Cashman said. “You have a lot of different conversations. Some initiated by us, some initiated by them, them being any of the 29 clubs. I would say, or I wouldn’t confirm who we were talking to and about what. But there’s a lot of things that get presented, ideas thrown around, a lot of different concepts.”

• Did the Teixeira injury rush the Yankees plans for Nick Swisher to get back in the field? “Well, we were kind of day-by-day,” Girardi said. “If Tex didn’t get hurt, would I have waited until tomorrow? Maybe. But I might have thrown him out there today and DHed Raul. I would have just checked with him.”

• With a lefty starting tomorrow, Girardi said it’s possible McGehee will be the Yankees starting first baseman with Jayson Nix at third base for this Baltimore series finale.

• Girardi didn’t say as much, but I have to think Ramiro Pena will be option tomorrow to make room for McGehee.

Associated Press photos