The Yankees hope Russell Branyan can duplicate the success he's had in their new stadium as a visiting player after they signed the veteran to a minor-league deal Wednesday.
The lefthanded, power-hitting Branyan, 36, has eight homers in 47 career at-bats at the new Stadium, including two of the longest ever hit there. He hit the facing of the Mohegan Sun Sports Bar in dead center in 2009 and launched a shot into the fourth deck in right in 2010, the only player to reach those areas of the Stadium.
The signing of Branyan, who can play first and third but is being looked at primarily as a DH, does not preclude the Yankees from re-signing Eric Chavez, who played well for them last season when healthy. But the Yankees are reticent to give Chavez, who was brought in on a minor-league deal last offseason, significant money as his ability to stay healthy remains a concern. That drove them to sign utilityman Bill Hall to a minor-league pact on Tuesday.
Signing Branyan, who hit .167 with five homers and 14 RBIs in 68 combined games with the Diamondbacks and Angels, also doesn't close the door on reaching a deal with DH candidates Raul Ibañez, Hideki Matsui or Johnny Damon, but to this point the prices remain prohibitive.
Branyan, who has played for 10 major-league teams, hit 25 home runs in 109 games with the Indians and Mariners in 2010 and hit 31 homers in 116 games in 2009 with the Mariners. Branyan has 194 career home runs.