TAMPA, Fla. — Outfielder Brennan Boesch played his first game for the Yankees in Saturday afternoon’s 7-0 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies at Steinbrenner Field.
A .259 career hitter, Boesch has a .363 career average against the Yankees with a .907 on-base plus slugging percentage. A left-handed hitter, his average at Yankee Stadium, which he said is his favorite place to play, is .367 with a .908 O.P.S.
“It’s a young man who’s got a lot of opportunity, and we hope he’s going to be a good fit,” Manager Joe Girardi said.
Boesch, 27, once a promising outfielder for Detroit, was released by the Tigers on Wednesday. He hit .240 with 12 home runs and 54 runs batted in last season, but he was left off the Tigers’ postseason roster.
In Saturday’s game, Boesch played right field while Ichiro Suzuki played in left. Boesch went 0 for 3, striking out and grounding out twice.
“It’s all good,” he said. “It’s like the first day of school. Everything is new. But everything is also top-notch here. I couldn’t be in a better place.”
Boesch said that after his release, when his agent, Scott Boras, told him the Yankees were interested, his response was to “just get it done.”
“I don’t know what my numbers are in New York, but I’ve always loved playing against the Yankees and playing in New York,” he said. “It’s definitely my favorite place to play.”
When Boesch first visited Yankee Stadium in 2010, he dominated a four-game series — hitting a home run, a bases-emptying triple and a double. He finished with five R.B.I. in that series, propelling the Tigers to three victories in four games.
With Curtis Granderson out until May, it appears Boesch will be a platoon corner outfielder with the recently acquired Ben Francisco, who bats right-handed.
Girardi, however, noted that Boesch is a rare left-handed hitter who has had better success against left-handed pitchers than righties. Boesch is a .250 career hitter against right-handers and .286 against left-handers.
“Obviously, the better you play, the more opportunities you get,” Girardi said.
INSIDE PITCH Although Mariano Rivera pitched a scoreless seventh, he needed 17 pitches to get through the inning, going to full counts on two hitters and walking one. A double play helped him escape unscathed. “He actually threw a ball in the dirt,” said Joe Girardi, noting that it caught both his attention and that of another former Yankees catcher, Jorge Posada. “Me and Jorgie were commenting on it. You never see him throw a ball in the dirt. He was just a little rusty.” Rivera said he was rushing his mechanics. Girardi said Rivera will pitch again Monday in a minor league game. … The left-handed reliever Boone Logan (sore elbow) threw a bullpen session Saturday morning and declared that while he was still not pain-free, he felt good, threw well and hoped his next time on the mound would be in an actual game. “I know he threw the ball extremely well today,” Girardi said. “But to me, it’s more how he feels tomorrow or the next day.” … The Yankees reassigned two young outfielders to their minor league complex — Zoilo Almonte and Slade Heathcott. Heathcott has patellar tendinitis in his left knee and hasn’t seen action in a few days, and there is no timetable for when he’ll return.