Carlos Pena claimed • 08.24.11
According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Yankees have made a waiver claim on Cubs first baseman Carlos Pena. The report came minutes after general manager Brian Cashman said there would probably be no roster moves for the rest of the season.
“I’m going to continue to scan everything, but no, I’m not optimistic that we’re going to do anything,” he said. “I think this is most likely what we’ve got.”
If the team acquired Pena, he would likely fill their designated hitter role. Eric Chavez has struggled since coming off the disabled list and Jorge Posada has show his age.
Pena is hitting just .223 but has a .342 on-base percentage and 23 home runs.
If the report is true, the Cubs can either relinquish Pena and the remainder of his $10 million salary to the Yankees, pull him back off waivers, or work out a trade.
Eric Chavez wasn’t surprised to see his name in the lineup today. He still hasn’t been officially activated from the disabled list — the Yankees will wait until after batting practice to complete the transaction — but after six minor league games and an off day Monday, Chavez showed up ready to play.
“The last day actually I fielded about six balls,” he said. “When I had played third, I didn’t have a lot of action until the last day. Once that happened, in my mind I knew I was ready to go.”
Joe Girardi said this isn’t an indication that Chavez will takeover as the Yankees everyday third baseman until Alex Rodriguez returns. In fact, Girardi said he still plans to play Eduardo Nunez, but obviously Chavez is a proven alternative.
“Nuney’s been playing extremely well,” Girardi said. “Nuney has played every day here at third base for us, so I thought he could probably use a day — especially the way he plays, at such a fast pace. His legs could use a day. I’m not of the belief that we would play Chavy six or seven days in a row. We have to make sure we keep him healthy.”
Chavez was hitting .303 before the foot injury that landed him on the DL, but he’s actually hoping for better in his return. He said his minor league at-bats felt good last week, and he’d like to drive the ball a little more than he was back in April and May. He actually felt like he was starting to drive the ball when he broke his foot.
“I’m sure if I play well, then I’ll play,” he said. “If I don’t look too good, I probably won’t play… It was more of filling in for Tex and Al than being an everyday guy (out of spring training), but if this did happen, I was hoping to be physically in shape to do it. And hopefully I can do that.”
• There appears to be a fake Twitter account claiming to be Carlos Pena. Whoever has the account just tweeted that Pena has been traded to the Yankees. It’s not true. A Yankees source just confirmed that no such deal is in place.
• Rafael Soriano felt normal soreness today, and the Yankees expect to activate him in a few days. Could he be activated tomorrow? “Possible,” Girardi said. “But probably not.” That’s because Soriano just pitched back-to-back days and the Yankees prefer to give him two days off. It’s not because of any sort of injury concern.
• Girardi said Soriano will be reevaluated tomorrow before any decision is finalized. An off day Thursday would give Soriano an automatic extra day of rest either right before or right after being activated.
• The Yankees have to open both a 25-man and 40-man roster spot for Chavez because he was on the 60-day. The assumption seems to be that Brandon Laird will be optioned back to Triple-A, but the Yankees won’t announce anything until after BP, which is going on right now. (Actually, maybe they don’t have to open a 40-man spot. Don’t remember when they opened on, but it seems there is one open for Chavez).
• CC Sabathia is going for his 15th win of the season, which would be the Mariners 17th straight loss. “Our job is just to win games,” Girardi said. “That’s the bottom line. You can’t worry about how your opponent has been playing or what’s going on with their club, because on any given night, a club can win a game. Clubs go through tough spells and then they get hot, so you obviously don’t want to be the start of someone getting hot. You go out, play the game, play the right way and hope you get CC another win.”
• A lot of young kids from today’s HOPE Week event around the Yankees today. There were a few roaming through the clubhouse, and a bunch went through stretch with the players. Pretty cool to see how much the Yankees are smiling and laughing with those kids around.
UPDATE, 5:45 p.m.: The Yankees still haven’t sent any sort of official announcement, but MLB.com lists the transaction as Chavez being activated and Laird being option. As expected.
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Brendan Ryan SS
Dustin Ackley 2B
Miguel Olivo C
Justin Smoak 1B
Franklin Gutierrez CF
Mike Carp DH
Greg Halman LF
Chone Figgins 3B
Associated Press photo