Your new cleanup hitter for the New York Yankees! ...
The New York Yankees just released the starting lineup for tonight's game against the Toronto Blue Jays and lefty Ricky Romero, and boy, is it a doozy. Phil Hughes will likely need a solid performance tonight if he wants a win.
Pearce, a righthanded 8th-round draft choice by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2005 MLB Draft, has playing sparingly in the big leagues since 2007. He hit .232/.302/.366 over five years with the Pirates as a corner outfielder/first baseman before beginning his interesting 2012.
He was signed by the Minnesota Twins before the season, then cut near the end of Spring Training. The Yankees picked him up and assigned him to their AAA Traveling Roadshow team, where he fared quite nicely: .318/.419/.568 with 11 homers in 53 games. Impressed by what he was doing with "Scranton," the Baltimore Orioles purchased him on June 2nd during their search for an impact bat. In two months, Pearce hit a little better than league average with a 105 OPS+ in 28 games. The horrible, horrible Houston Astros picked him up off waivers at the end of July, and he had the same batting average there as in Baltimore (.254). So he hit about the same, right? Wrong. (Hint: Batting average is not very helpful). He did not hit any home runs and his OPS+ dipped to 91 in Houston. However, the Yankees recently reacquired him in another purchase because they like what he's done against left-handed pitching in his career, a .277/.347/.484 triple slash (his split numbers this year match that almost exactly: .275/.345/.490 against southpaws).
His numbers not seem overwhelming so I'm not sure why the Yankees reacquired him, but we'll see how he does tonight anyway. Oddly, lefties have hit Romero better in his four-year career than righties (.284/.366/.478 vs. .235/.321/.351). Of course.
Infielder Casey McGehee, acquired at the Trade Deadline from the Pittsburgh Pirates for Chad Qualls, was optioned to Low A Charleston to make room for Pearce. McGehee was hitting .186/.234/.326 in 47 plate appearances. Apparently, going to Low A will allow McGehee to return sooner according to manager Joe Girardi. They are not going to the playoffs, so I would imagine he would be able to return as soon as their season ends (September 3rd) if not sooner.