CHICAGO (AP) — Edwin Encarnación will find himself in a familiar spot after he joins the Yankees in New York on Monday.
Manager Aaron Boone plans to use AL home run leader as his team’s primary designated hitter once the 36-year-old slugger arrives.
The AL East leaders acquired Encarnación for a minor league pitcher in a late-night trade with Seattle. Boone said he expects Encarnación to be available when the Yankees open a three-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Boone said he’ll occasionally play the three-time All-Star at first base.
“We’re talking Edwin Encarnación,” Boone said before Sunday’s game in Chicago against the White Sox. “When you get a guy of his caliber, that’s something we’re excited about. He’s obviously a great hitter, he has been for a long time and continues to be.”
“Just looking forward to adding him and just adding some more length to our lineup with not just a feared hitter, but also a good hitter,” he said.
The Yankees added Encarnación to what could be one of the most powerful lineups in the majors when Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton return from injuries.
Seattle is sending $8,397,849 to the Yankees, leaving New York to pay $8 million of the remaining $16,397,849 that Encarnación is guaranteed, which includes a $5 million buyout of a $25 million club option for 2020.
Tampa Bay owes the Mariners $5 million on Aug. 1 from the three-team trade that moved Encarnación from Cleveland to the Mariners last December.
New York sent 19-year-old minor league pitcher Juan Then to Seattle. He formerly pitched in the Mariners system and will start out in Class A.
Encarnación has hit 21 home runs this season and has averaged 37 homers and 109 RBIs in his last seven years.
Boone said Stanton could return Tuesday after being sidelined by biceps, shoulder and calf injuries. Judge also is inching closer after he strained his left oblique in April. Both stars are on rehab assignments in Triple-A.
Stanton is expected to wrap up a three-game stint with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Sunday, then travel on Monday “with the idea of activating on Tuesday,” Boone said. Judge will play in the outfield for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre at Durham, North Carolina on Sunday.
“Encarnacíon, Stanton and Judge, that’s three elite power hitters plugged into our lineup,” Boone said. “Hopefully it’s something over time that creates a big-time advantage for us.”
Encarnación is hitting .241 and is among the league leaders with 49 RBIs and 48 runs scored. He has 401 career home runs, including 18 in 69 games at the new Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees are Encarnacíon’s fifth major league club. He started with Cincinnati in 2005 and later played for Toronto.