Alfonso Soriano batting cleanup for Yankees on Friday

David Brown
Big League Stew

Take off that Cubs cap, Fonzie. With the Alfonso Soriano trade finally made official by Major League Baseball, the New York Yankees are putting him to work immediately in the cleanup spot. Soriano is batting fourth and playing left field Friday night against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium. Jeremy Hellickson opposes CC Sabathia.

One person who's happy to see an old teammate: Derek Jeter:

Be careful, Sori. You'll break Jeter!

It's a small sample size and an arbitrary endpoint, but Soriano has slugged .688 the past four weeks. That means hope for a team that hasn't hit a home run in seven days, and not in 26 games by a right-handed batter. No need to wait for Alex Rodriguez to come back when Alfonso Soriano is gassed up and ready to go. The only issue: The Yankees might have waited too long. They're 6 1/2 games out of first place in the AL East. Not insurmountable, but Soriano could have been helping them already. He's hitting fourth, so it's not like they've had better options lately.

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