The last time we saw Alfonso Soriano in a Yankee uniform was the night of October 25, 2003.
Unfortunately for Yankees, it was not a good occasion because that was the night they lost Game 6 of the World Series to Josh Beckett and the then Florida Marlins in Yankee Stadium.
Soriano’s last at bat came in the bottom of the eighth inning – he led off the inning off with a single. Sadly, Derek Jeter followed that up with a fly ball out to center and Nick Johnson ended the inning by hitting into a double play.
Nearly ten years later, Soriano has come back home to the Yankees.
During his five years with the Yankees, Soriano batted .284/.322/.502/.824 with 98 home runs and 270 RBI. After the trade to Texas for Alex Rodriguez in early 2004, Soriano played with the Rangers for two seasons, then was traded to the Washington Nationals for Armando Galarraga, Terrmel Sledge and Brad Wilkerson in December 2005.
Following his 2006 season with the Nationals, in which Soriano joined the elusive 40-40-40 (40 home runs, 40 stolen bases and 40 doubles) club, it didn’t take long for the then five-time All-Star to ink a mega deal with the Chicago Cubs worth eight years and $136M.
Things haven’t exactly worked out the way Soriano or the Cubs had planned. In the years signed he signed his contract, the Cubs have only reached the playoffs twice, losing in the Division series both times and the club is now looking at facing its fifth year without a postseason appearance.
The Yankees, who have had a strange season of their own in 2013, were in need of a right handed bat to ignite its stagnant offense. Soriano, knowing the Cubs were already in sell mode, waived his no-trade clause to make a return to the place that put him on the map.
It has been reported that the only team he was willing to do that for was the New York Yankees.
So far in 2013, Soriano is batting .254/.287/.467/.754 with 17 home runs and 51 RBI. He had eight home runs this month alone while the Yankees only have seven.
Not only is he returning to the Bronx, but Soriano will also be wearing a familiar number. He was assigned #22 earlier today but has since worked out a deal with Vernon Wells to switch numbers so Wells will wear #22 and Soriano will return to wearing #12 like he did the last time he played with the Yankees. In his early days with the team, Soriano wore 58, 53 and 33 before switching to 12 and has ended up wearing it for most of his career – with the Rangers, Nationals and Cubs.
Soriano has now come full circle and is back home with the team he started his MLB career with and hopefully, it will be a happy reunion. And who knows? Maybe the Yankees’ right handed home run hitting drought will end sometimes this weekend.