3/4/2014 10:22 P.M. ET
Solarte focused squarely on making big league team
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
TAMPA, Fla. -- Yangervis Solarte spent all of last season waiting for a call that never came.
The switch-hitter said that he had been told that the Rangers planned to bring him up at the end of the season, a nod to his solid performance at Triple-A Round Rock. But the 26-year-old instead flew home to Venezuela still waiting for his first day of big league service time.
"I don't even want to mention the word 'Triple-A' at this moment," Solarte said through an interpreter. "My dream is to play in the Majors. I got very hurt when I did not get called up to the Majors last year, so I feel that I can't get my heart broken like that again."
A non-roster invitee, Solarte's live bat and versatility have opened some eyes this spring in Yankees camp. Solarte entered Tuesday with six hits in seven Grapefruit League at-bats, including two homers.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi has had Solarte play multiple positions, using him at second base, third base, shortstop and left field. Solarte said that his favorite position is shortstop, but he has played mostly second base as a professional.
"I've said, if you have a uniform on and you can play different positions, you have a chance," Girardi said. "He's going to get a good look. He's got some versatility. We're looking for versatility, because of our infield situation, and he has that."
"That's one of my abilities as a player, that flexibility," Solarte said. "I feel like they are taking that into account. My defense is one of the things that I would really like to work on very hard during the spring."
Solarte said that he never sought an explanation why the Rangers did not call him up in 2013, saying that it was not his place to question those decisions. Solarte hit .276 with 12 homers and 75 RBIs in 133 games at Triple-A.
He has been talking with his uncle, former big league outfielder Roger Cedeno, about keeping a positive attitude. Solarte said that he does not want to think about the possibility of not making the team out of camp.
"I'm tired of the Minors," Solarte said. "I feel that I have done everything I could do. I love playing baseball, I have worked so hard, I have met every goal that I had. Now I feel that the next challenge is the Major Leagues."
Ryan OK after taking liner to left hand
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees had a batting-practice scare on Tuesday afternoon when shortstop Brendan Ryan was clipped in the left hand by a line drive during an infield workout.
Ryan was rushing in to field a slow roller, making the throw to first base. A batter in the cage smacked a liner toward left field that shot toward Ryan, who had his glove knocked off by the ball.
Ryan appeared to be in pain, shaking his hand often as shortstop Derek Jeter and manager Joe Girardi came over to check on him. Ryan said that he was fortunate that the ball caught him in the meaty part of his palm.
"It'll just be a bruise. Pretty scary," Ryan said. "I was lucky. It could have been a much worse spot."
Girardi unsure how Yankees will use Ichiro
TAMPA, Fla. -- There are a number of roles that Ichiro Suzuki may be able to fill for the Yankees this season, but manager Joe Girardi is uncertain how he will use the 40-year-old outfielder.
"He's going to compete for playing time," Girardi said. "This is a guy that has been a great player for a long, long time, and has a lot of pride in what he's done, and I have a ton of respect for what he's done and what he does now. We've added some pieces, and I can't tell you exactly what the breakdown is going to be."
Earlier this spring, Ichiro shared the reaction he had after learning that the Yankees had added Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran to their outfield: "Oops!"
The Yankees also have Brett Gardner and Alfonso Soriano in the mix, making it possible that Ichiro could be asked to serve as a pinch-runner or defensive replacement off the bench.
"Obviously with the additions, I'm going to have to find a place for myself, but I've worked hard this offseason and I've worked on a lot of things," Ichiro said.
Girardi said that asking Ichiro to fill a diminished role is not easy, considering his storied playing career.
"You try to be as fair as you can to everyone on the club, because you know that you need at least 25 guys, and you usually need more throughout the course of the season," Girardi said. "You just talk to them, [tell him] this is what we're thinking, and just try to prepare him for exactly when he's going to play."
• Mark Teixeira did not hit against live pitching on Tuesday as originally scheduled, because the Yankees did not have a pitcher ready to throw to hitters, according to Girardi.
Teixeira instead will hit on Wednesday morning and remains on track to make his spring debut on Thursday against the Phillies in Clearwater, Fla. Soriano is also scheduled to play in that game.
• The Yankees observed a moment of silence prior to Tuesday's game at George M. Steinbrenner Field, paying tribute to Orioles public relations director Monica Barlow, who passed away on Feb. 28 after a 4 1/2-year battle with cancer.
In a statement, the Yankees said that Barlow "never ceased to inspire those around her with her unwavering spirit. She will be remembered as a talented and tireless professional, who was always caring and compassionate to those around her."
• Scott Sizemore made his spring debut on Tuesday, playing the final four innings of New York's 3-2 loss to the Orioles at second base. Sizemore went 1-for-2 and is hoping to make the team after having his career stalled by two left knee reconstructions.
"He's been through a lot," Girardi said. "Each day he goes out there, I think he's going to feel more comfortable. It was good to see him out there."