Yankees designate Alfonso Soriano for assignment

Alfonso Soriano of the Yankees walks back to

Alfonso Soriano of the Yankees walks back to the dugout after striking out in the fifth inning at U.S. Cellular Field on May 22, 2014 in Chicago. (Credit: Getty Images / Jonathan Daniel)

MINNEAPOLIS - The Yankees simply could not wait any longer for Alfonso Soriano's bat to come around, designating the outfielder for assignment Sunday morning.

"Very surprising to me,'' Mark Teixeira said. "I just know how good Sori can be. He's a streaky hitter but just hadn't been on a hot streak yet, so it's a little surprising.''

Soriano, 38, a Yankee from 1999-2003 who was reacquired last year, was hitting .221 with a .244 on-base percentage, six homers and 23 RBIs. It was a far cry from his 58-game stretch in last season's second half, when he had 17 homers and 50 RBIs.

Soriano has been a streaky hitter throughout his career -- in one four-game stretch in 2013, he went 13-for-18 with five homers and 18 RBIs -- but he found playing time difficult to come by this season in a crowded outfield.

With Carlos Beltran limited to DH duties because of an elbow/forearm injury, that no longer was an option for Soriano, either.

"He never made any excuses, never,'' Joe Girardi said. "I knew his wishes, I knew he wanted to play every day in the outfield, but that was Ich [Ichiro Suzuki] and that was Carlos [Beltran].''

Soriano told ESPNDeportes he harbors no ill feelings toward the Yankees despite discussions with his agent about the difficulty of getting "comfortable'' with how he was being used.

"This was to be expected and it is a decision that favors both me and the team,'' Soriano said, later saying that retirement is an option he is considering. "Now I will have the opportunity to decide what I want to do next, and the team can find someone to do the job I was unable to do.''

According to one industry insider, the Mariners, in need of a righthanded hitter, already have had preliminary discussions about bringing Soriano aboard, with one of his biggest boosters being Robinson Cano. The Blue Jays, with Edwin Encarnacion sidelined with a right quadriceps strain, also could be interested.

Said Derek Jeter: "Sori's had a tremendous career here in New York. It was difficult for him this year. Any time you talk a player that's used to playing every day not playing every day, it's kind of hard to be productive. I feel for him, I'm going to miss him. He's like a brother to me.''

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