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Yankees acquire versatile Hinske from Pirates

If anyone were able to handle having his first day as a Yankee delayed by bad weather, it figures it would be Eric Hinske, whose job is going to entail a lot of sitting and waiting.

Hinske was acquired Tuesday from the Pirates as a multi-position backup, playing here and there, and then and again. The Yankees liked his resume and a rare blend: mature enough to recognize he won't play very much yet savvy enough to be productive when he does play.

The new Yankee likely will be Alex Rodriguez's replacement when he takes his now-requisite one day off a week. Hinske also can play first base, leftfield and rightfield.

"He can come off the bench and pinch hit. He has been on playoff teams, World Series teams," manager Joe Girardi said, speaking for his new player because Hinske was stranded at the Pittsburgh airport. "He does know the league and he knows the brand of baseball that's played here. We feel he's a tough player and we like his credentials."

The Yankees gave up two minor-leaguers, pitcher Casey Erickson and outfielder Eric Fryer, for the 31-year-old lefthanded batter - former regular for the Blue Jays - in a deal that also brought the Yankees some cash.

General manager Brian Cashman had said recently that the Yankees were not in the market for a bat, but the team's outlook changed when it was learned that Xavier Nady needs surgery and will be out for the season.

So the Yankees have the player who made the final out in the 2008 World Series. The bright side is that he was in the World Series for the second year in a row, having won a ring as a fill-in for the Red Sox in 2007.

Hinske played well for the Rays last year, totaling 20 home runs. He was the Opening Day rightfielder and later was the regular leftfielder when Carl Crawford was injured. But when Crawford returned for the postseason, Hinske was squeezed out. He didn't even make the roster for the American League Championship Series or World Series.

Still, the Rays admired his attitude as he kept practicing. "You know that you have no chance to get in the game that day, but you have to be professional about the situation," Hinske said at the time.

When Cliff Floyd was injured during the Series against the Phillies, Hinske was activated for Game 4 and hit a pinch home run.


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