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Yankees trade Vidal Nuño to D-backs for Brandon McCarthy

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy delivers during

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy delivers during the first inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh on July 3, 2014. Credit: AP

MINNEAPOLIS - What started, in the words of Joe Girardi, as "kind of a tough day" ended very differently.

The Yankees took three of four from the Twins by holding on for a 9-7 victory Sunday. After the game, they found out that rookie pitchers Masahiro Tanaka and Dellin Betances, along with Derek Jeter, had been selected to the All-Star Game.

"I think they're all deserving," Girardi said.

The difficult part of Girardi's day came several hours earlier. The manager told lefthander Vidal Nuño he had been dealt to the Diamondbacks for righthander Brandon McCarthy. And what was even harder for Girardi was having to tell 38-year-old outfielder Alfonso Soriano, one of the most popular players in the clubhouse, that he had been designated for assignment.

The Yankees, desperate to upgrade their rotation with starters who at the very least can eat innings, took a step toward that end by bringing in McCarthy. Girardi said he will make his Yankees debut Wednesday night in Cleveland.

"McCarthy is an experienced starter that we expect to pitch well for us and give us distance,'' Girardi said. "I know he's had his struggles but he's seemed to turn it around. He's got a good arm and we need him to help us.''

McCarthy is 3-10 with a 5.01 ERA in 1092/3 innings this season for Arizona. On the Yankees' staff, only Tanaka has pitched more innings (1222/3).

Nuño, 26, mostly struggled this season as a starter after replacing the injured Michael Pineda, going 2-5 with a 5.42 ERA. He was 3-7 with a 4.78 ERA in 22 games in two seasons with the club.

The Yankees also received cash considerations in the deal.

They didn't have the necessary trade chips to acquire Cubs starters Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, losing out to the A's after trying to trade for both.

McCarthy, who turns 31 Monday, is 45-60 with a 4.21 ERA in his career, including 8-21 with a 4.75 ERA the last two seasons with Arizona. But before that, he seemed to be emerging as one of the game's more consistent arms, going 17-15 with a 3.29 ERA in 2011 and 2012 with the A's.

After starting this season 1-10 with a 5.38 ERA, McCarthy is 2-0 with a 2.13 ERA in his last two starts.

"He still has good stuff, but it's not playing," a National League scout said Sunday. "But between him and Nuño, it's not even close. McCarthy is a legitimate starter. This is a no-lose for the Yankees.''

Nuño particularly struggled at the Stadium, where he allowed 13 home runs in 50 innings this season.

"McCarthy's mostly a ground-ball pitcher," another talent evaluator said. "That automatically makes him a better fit for that park than Nuño."

Of course, the Yankees have one of the worst defensive infields in the majors and McCarthy is more than capable of giving up the long ball, having allowed 15 this season.

But the Yankees hope a change of scenery will benefit McCarthy, who does have a 4.65 strikeout-to-walk ratio, which puts him second among Yankees starters behind Tanaka's 7.22.

McCarthy's mostly uninspiring numbers aside, his new manager is confident that he will turn it around.

Said Girardi, "He's got too good stuff not to."

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