TAMPA, Fla. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Vernon Wells has taken another step closer to becoming the latest addition to the New York Yankees’ injury-depleted lineup.
As the Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Rays 7-6 in 10 innings Sunday behind a pair of two-run homers by Kevin Youkilis, New York was negotiating with the Los Angeles Angels to acquire the outfielder.
A person familiar with the negotiations, speaking on condition of anonymity because talks were ongoing, said the sides had not yet agreed to the money that would be included in a trade. Wells is owed $42 million over the next two seasons and the Angels are expected to pick up a chunk of the contract.
“Veteran leadership, a good guy,” Youkilis said. “He’s got power. Plays the outfield real well. I’ve always respected Vernon as a player. It would be great.”
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman declined comment. Before the game, Cashman said captain Derek Jeter was likely to join Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson on the disabled list at the start of the season.
The Angels are set in the outfield with Josh Hamilton, Mike Trout and Peter Bourjos, and have designated hitter Mark Trumbo available as a backup. Wells would have to waive a no-trade provision to go to New York.
The 34-year-old Wells would take over in left field while Granderson is recovering from a broken right forearm and join an outfield that includes center fielder Brett Gardner and right fielder Ichiro Suzuki. Wells is owed $21 million in each of the next two seasons as part of the $126 million, seven-year contract he agreed to with Toronto in December 2006. Los Angeles would have to agree to pay most of the remaining money.
Wells hit .230 with 11 homers and 29 RBIs last year and has just 36 homers and 95 RBIs in two seasons with the Angels. He is batting .361 in spring training this year with four homers and 11 RBIs in 36 at-bats.
“We haven’t seem him a lot the last two year just because he was hurt some,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “We don’t see the Los Angeles Angels as much. I know when he was in our division, he was a very good player.”
Jeter, recovering from surgery to repair the left ankle he broke last October during the AL championship series, probably will miss opening day for the first time since 2001 and only the second time since he became New York’s shortstop in 1996. If he goes on the DL, he could be activated as soon as April 6.
Rodriguez isn’t expected back until after the All-Star break following left hip surgery on Jan. 16. Teixeira hasn’t ruled out missing the first two months of the season because of a partially torn tendon sheath in his right wrist, while Granderson is expected to be out until the first week of May.
The 38-year-old Jeter, who has repeatedly vowed to be ready for opening day, played in his first big league spring training game on March 9 as a designated hitter. He returned to shortstop four days later, then played consecutive games on March 15 and 16 before inflammation kept him out of the lineup.
He received an anti-inflammatory injection Wednesday and had four at-bats as a DH Saturday in a minor league exhibition game.
“I know Derek extremely well, and I can read his face,” Cashman said. “And his face today tells me that the reality of his circumstances is starting to sink in, and the disabled list might be necessary. I told him what I think, and he didn’t fight me on it. That’s reality.”
Eduardo Nunez, known for his bat more than his glove, would fill in at shortstop for the 13-time All-Star.
Jeter is 3 for 11 with a double in five spring training games. New York could put him on the DL backdated to Friday, meaning he could be activated on April 6, when the Yankees are at Detroit.
“It’s a goal, it doesn’t mean an absolute,” Cashman said. “We’ll respond to how he’s feeling. That’s all we can do. At some point this will be behind him.”
As for Sunday’s game, closer Mariano Rivera struck out one,and allowed a broken-bat infield single and bloop single during a scoreless sixth. The right-hander has experienced migraine headaches and underwent tests, which included an MRI. Cashman said the test results were good.
“Everything is fine,” Rivera said. “I don’t like to feel headaches, I don’t like to feel that stuff. I wanted to know what was going on.”
Tampa Bay’s Jeremy Hellickson gave up four runs and eight hits in seven innings.
Suzuki singed in the fifth, but went too far past the base and was thrown out at first by right fielder Matt Joyce. Suzuki was called out after trying to jump over Hellickson’s tag.
“Kind of an interesting play,” Joyce said. “I didn’t know if he was going to try to go to second. Once I saw how far he was, I threw behind him and I knew I had a chance to get him out.”
Travis Hafner had a sixth-inning solo homer, and Ronnier Mustelier won it in the 10th with a leadoff homer.
Youkilis hit two-run drives in the first and eighth.
NOTES: Joyce played after turning his right ankle in the outfield before the game. He had an RBI single in the first. … New York RHP Adam Warren gave up five runs — one earned — and six hits over 3 2-3 innings. … Yankees LHP Cesar Cabral (left elbow fracture) says he will throw batting practice Tuesday for the first time since getting hurt. … CC Sabathia is scheduled to make his final spring training start Tuesday night against Houston. … The Yankees reassigned INFs Walter Ibarra, Addison Maruszak and Jose Pirela to their minor league camp.
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