CLEVELAND -- It was a brief banishment to the minor leagues for Yangervis Solarte, the sensation of spring training and April who suffered a precipitous fall through May and June and wound up spending his Fourth of July in Scranton.
But after just five games as a RailRider, over which he hit .600 (12-for-20), he is back, replacing Carlos Beltran on the roster after Beltran was placed on the seven-day concussion DL.
New York Yankees
What was the difference? Well, before you give me the easy answer -- Triple-A pitching -- Solarte says there is something else as well: A newly-rediscovered aggressiveness that had deserted him as his major league experience grew more difficult.
"Swing at the first pitch," Solarte said when asked to describe the secret of his Triple-A resurgence. "I think the last week that I played here, they started with the fastball in the middle, and I take it, always taking. Now, I go down and let me try swinging at the first pitch."
Solarte said he played both ends of a doubleheader in Scranton on Wednesday night, and was in the midst of a third game -- on his PlayStation -- when he got a call after midnight telling him to be in Cleveland in time for tonight's game.
"I felt bad," Solarte said about being sent down, "but always, I stay motivated. I'm very excited right now that I've got another opportunity."
Gardner well again: Brett Gardner sat out last night's game with some lower abdominal soreness but told Joe Girardi he felt well enough to go tonight, so the manager penciled him into the leadoff spot, conditional on him coming through batting practice OK. Apparently, he did, because he's still in the lineup.
Wheels in the outfield: Zelous Wheeler will make his first major league start in right field tonight. Wheeler, a third baseman by trade, played 12 games in right for Triple-A Scranton this season with no errors and two assists in 21 chances.
Ryan for Brian: Girardi is giving Brian Roberts a day off, so backup shortstop Brendan Ryan will make his second start of the season at second base. Ryan has started 45 games at second over his eight-year major league career.