Solarte's struggles at plate get him sent to Triple-A
Yankees add infielder Wheeler, who's played eight seasons in Minors, to infield mix
MINNEAPOLIS -- Yangervis Solarte, who won a job on the Yankees roster with his bat in Spring Training and proceeded to keep hitting through the first week of June, was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after Wednesday's 6-3 loss to Tampa Bay.
"We made it known to him: Hey, you were a big part of our success the first two months, then you struggled," manager Joe Girardi said. "So go get back on track."
The Yankees replaced Solarte by signing infielder Zelous Wheeler, who was with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and adding him to the 25-man roster. Wheeler was in the lineup at third base for his Major League debut against the Twins on Wednesday night.
Mostly playing third base, the 26-year-old Solarte, signed by the Yankees as a free agent in January after eight Minor League seasons, had a .260 batting average with a .343 on-base percentage and six home runs for the Yankees. But he hit .073 in 41 at-bats over 14 games since June 10.
"He's been struggling in the month of June," Girardi said. "We thought we'd send him down to get him going."
Wheeler, 27 years old, batted .299 in 66 games for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre through 66 games. He has a career .274 average over the course of his eight-year Minor League career. Wheeler is primarily a third baseman, but he has also seen time at second base, shortstop and right field this season.
The Yankees designated veteran infielder Dean Anna for assignment in order to make room for Wheeler on the 40-man roster.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. Alex M. Smith is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.