BOSTON - Xavier Nady scored a run. Damaso Marte struck out David Ortiz in a key situation. And the Yankees won again.
New York finalized the trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday, and Nady and Marte made their Yankees debuts in a 10-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox.
The former Pirates went from a team that was 48-55 and 12 games behind in the NL Central to one that is 58-45 with eight straight wins and a solid shot in the tight AL East race.
“To be able to play for the Yankees is a big surprise for me,” said Marte, one of the top left-handed relievers in baseball. “It’s exciting to be a Yankee. It’s unbelievable.”
Nady was hitting .330 with Pittsburgh when he was pulled after the first inning of Friday night’s game against San Diego.
“It’s a crazy industry,” he said Saturday. “I heard my name, rumblings the last couple of weeks. I was ready to walk out (on deck) and the manager called me back. He was on his cell phone. It’s not often you see the manager on his cell phone during the game.”
The Pirates got four minor leaguers in the deal: top outfield prospect Jose Tabata and right-handers Dan McCutchen, Jeff Karstens and Ross Ohlendorf.
“It was hard to give up the players we did. I like those players,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said before Saturday’s game. “The players we got back — Marte and Nady — both will hopefully contribute to the 2008 season and we have them for ’09.”
Cashman said he had been talking about Marte for a few days and Nady’s name came up during his drive to Boston on Friday afternoon, with discussions heating up during batting practice Friday and carrying late into the night.
“I wouldn’t have done it if it was rented for a few months,” Cashman said.
Nady batted seventh and played left field against Boston. He went 0-for-3 with a walk and scored a run. He also was hit by a pitch.
With New York leading 7-3 in the seventh, Marte entered with runners at first and second and one out and struck out Ortiz, the only batter he faced.
“That’s why we got him. He’s not uncomfortable against left-handers,” manager Joe Girardi said. “I wasn’t going to put him in a situation where it didn’t mean anything.”
To make room, the Yankees optioned outfielder Brett Gardner to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and designated reliever LaTroy Hawkins for assignment.
“I think it’s a very good move for us,” Girardi said. “Xavier is having a very good year. He’s a guy that can play left field for us and another right-handed bat. And then we get Marte, who has been very good against left-handed hitters — and right-handers, too.”
The teams agreed to a deal Friday, pending physicals for the players involved. The Yankees confirmed the trade was completed early Saturday afternoon.
It was initially thought New York’s package would include minor league pitchers Phil Coke and George Kontos rather than McCutchen and Karstens. But when the Pirates made their final selections Saturday from a list of players the Yankees offered, Pittsburgh chose a group that included McCutchen and Karstens, according to a person familiar with the trade who spoke on condition of anonymity because those details of the talks were not disclosed.
The Yankees, with Hideki Matsui and Jorge Posada on the disabled list and possibly lost for the year, needed another right-handed bat for their lefty loaded lineup.
Nady had 13 home runs and 57 RBIs in 88 games with Pittsburgh, and Marte was 4-0 with a 3.47 ERA and 47 strikeouts in 46 2-3 innings for the Pirates.
Ohlendorf was 1-1 with a 6.53 ERA in 25 games with the Yankees this season. He was demoted June 27 and had a 1-1 record with a 4.03 ERA in five starts with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Tabata was batting .248 with three homers and 36 RBIs with Double-A Trenton entering play Friday.
High-ranking Yankees officials gathered for meetings at their spring training complex Thursday. After a three-hour meeting, co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner confirmed one of the topics was indicted home run king Barry Bonds.
Steinbrenner wouldn’t say if the Yankees are interested in Bonds, but it appears highly unlikely the team will pursue him after acquiring Nady.
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