07/30/08 5:58 PM ET
Yanks pleased to add Pudge to roster
Girardi, players eager to welcome 14-time All-Star to New York
By Willie Bans / MLB.com
The Yanks acquired 14-time All-Star catcher Ivan Rodriguez from the Tigers on Wednesday in exchange for right-handed reliever Kyle Farnsworth.
Joba Chamberlain, a reliever-turned-starter, said the bullpen lost a good arm in Farnsworth, part of a relief staff that entering Wednesday had held opponents to a .231 batting average, third-lowest in the Major Leagues.
"We've got a lot of guys in the bullpen that can help us, but that's a weapon that you don't find too many of, those guys that can throw that hard and have a great slider like he has and has been pitching as well as he has been," Chamberlain said.
However, Chamberlain seemed aware of what Rodriguez, a 13-time Gold Glove winner, can bring to a club.
"Pudge just adds experience," Chamberlain said. "He's been there, he's done that. But also it's a big loss for us in the bullpen. You understand it's a game of baseball and it's also a business. And at the end of the day, you're trying to win [a championship], and that's what happens."
The Yankees were in need of a catcher since Jorge Posada decided to undergo season-ending surgery on his right shoulder. The 37-year-old Rodriguez, a career .302 hitter, is batting .295 with five home runs and 32 RBIs in 82 games this season, his 18th in the Majors.
"[Rodriguez] is another veteran guy," right fielder Bobby Abreu said. "He knows the league very well, how to handle the pitchers. I think he's going to help us a lot."
Entering Wednesday's game against the Orioles, New York sat four games behind Tampa Bay in the American League East and 1 1/2 behind Boston in the AL Wild Card race. A blockbuster move like this a day before the non-waiver Trade Deadline could give the Yankees a push to the top.
"Hopefully, he can be an important part of what we're trying to do this year," third baseman Alex Rodriguez said.
Pudge Rodriguez, who can be a free agent after this season, played for the 2003 World Series champion Marlins and the American League champion Tigers in '06. Manager Joe Girardi, a former Major League catcher, was impressed with Rodriguez's credentials.
"You're talking about a Hall of Fame catcher coming in here," Girardi said. "He's been playing very well and he's been hot. We're looking forward to him being here."
Even Farnsworth was complimentary toward the Bombers' new catcher.
"He's going to bring fire, energy," Farnsworth said. "He can throw like [Yankees catcher Jose Molina] also. [Rodriguez] is a good offensive catcher."
Willie Bans is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.