New Yankee Nady in lineup vs. Sox
After deal is officially finalized, Marte also takes part in rivalry
BOSTON -- The Yankees completed their trade for outfielder Xavier Nady and left-handed reliever Damaso Marte on Saturday, immediately using both for their 10-3 victory over the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
Nady and Marte were acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for four players -- outfield prospect Jose Tabata and right-handed pitchers Ross Ohlendorf, Jeff Karstens and Dan McCutchen. The deal was officially completed on Saturday morning.
"It was hard to give up what we did, but you have to give to get," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said.
Nady arrived in Boston and went straight from the airport to the batting cage, shaking hands with Cashman and receiving a hug from third baseman Alex Rodriguez at the bat rack while the Yankees took batting practice.
"Yesterday was a crazy day, but to show up here and be part of this and throw on this uniform is an honor," Nady said. "I'm excited to be here and hopefully help out and help the team win."
He was issued uniform No. 29 and took instruction from Johnny Damon and bench coach Rob Thomson on playing the Green Monster, as Nady -- mostly a right fielder with Pittsburgh -- made the start in left field. He went 0-for-3 with a hit by pitch and one run scored on Saturday.
"He's right-handed and a productive hitter," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He's driving in runs and doing everything that you'd want a hitter to do. He's running the bases -- I wouldn't consider him a basestealer, but he knows how to run the bases."
Marte was issued uniform No. 34 and immediately got a taste of what it's like to pitch in the American League East's best rivalry -- Girardi summoned the left-hander in the seventh inning with two men on and one out for David Ortiz. Marte passed his first test, zipping a 95-mph fastball past Big Papi for the strikeout on an 0-2 pitch.
"When I'm traded, I [was] in shock," Marte said. "But when I pitch, I feel great and happy for throwing in this situation. This was my situation before. I feel comfortable."
Girardi said that he planned on using Marte in situations much like the Ortiz at-bat going forward. Rodriguez guessed that Marte immediately became the Yankees' best bullpen southpaw since Mike Stanton in the late 1990s.
"The one thing that Marte gives us is a proven left-hander," Girardi said. "It also gives us two lefties in a sense, because Edwar [Ramirez], we treat him as a lefty a lot of the time. Sometimes, you need two lefties in a game, and it gives us more flexibility. You might see guys not starting an inning and coming in after one out or two outs."
Cashman detailed the progression of talks with the Pirates, which opened with the Yankees checking in on Marte. Pittsburgh had long held interest in Ohlendorf, and when Pirates general manager Neal Huntington brought up Tabata's name, Cashman floated a "weather balloon" of asking for Nady. When Pittsburgh did not shoot the idea down outright, Cashman felt that a trade could be made.
Original reports had the Pirates also receiving Minor League pitchers Phil Coke and George Kontos, but that changed overnight, leading to the inclusion of Karstens and McCutchen. Cashman explained that the Pirates were working from a list of prospects they could request, and Coke was even pulled from a start at Double-A Trenton on Friday as a precaution. Pittsburgh made a final selection on Saturday morning, essentially completing the deal, Cashman said.
Cashman said that one major factor in the trade was that both Nady and Marte could be under the Yankees' control beyond 2008. Nady is arbitration-eligible after this season, and he will not touch free agency until 2010, while Marte has a $6 million club option for '09 that the Yankees could pick up or allow him to leave in exchange for Draft compensation.
"To give up those pieces, I wouldn't have done it if it was a rental for a few months," Cashman said.
In corresponding roster moves, the Yankees optioned outfielder Brett Gardner to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and designated right-handed reliever LaTroy Hawkins -- who was 1-1 with a 5.71 ERA in 33 appearances -- for assignment.
Girardi said that Gardner will play every day at Triple-A and said the move to say goodbye to Hawkins was a "tough call."
"LaTroy Hawkins is a quality guy, and I think he's played an important role in the maturation of our young pitchers down there," Girardi said. "He is just a great guy to have on your team -- great attitude every day. I really believe that his stuff has improved. I believe that he can help a club."
New York also outrighted left-handed pitcher Kei Igawa to Triple-A, clearing him from the 40-man roster after he passed through waivers earlier this week. Igawa was moved because the Yankees expect to have numerous players possibly coming off the 60-day disabled list soon, including Brian Bruney, Phil Hughes and Carl Pavano.
Nady's acquisition makes it more likely that the season has ended for both Hideki Matsui (left knee) and Jorge Posada (right shoulder). Matsui is attempting to come back to the Yankees' lineup, and he will be permitted to continue doing so, since he can have arthroscopic surgery after the season and not have it affect his readiness for Opening Day 2009.
The longer Posada waits to have his capsule tear and frayed labrum repaired, an estimated six-month recovery period could begin to creep into the next season, which will probably lead the Yankees to abandon the idea that the veteran catcher could return in '08 as a first baseman and designated hitter.
"If we feel we have enough pieces, we might not have to delay the surgery," Cashman said. "It's certainly something that's on the table."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.