NEW YORK — About this time last year, a charter flight from Tampa to Miami was filled with pinging sound effects and flashing screens as rumors filtered through the cabin that the Yankees were acquiring Anthony Rizzo from the Cubs. The move gave a welcome glow, sparking celebration in the aisles.
Rizzo and his teammates were in the clubhouse at Citi Field on a pin-drop quiet visit Wednesday evening when they learned of another deal in the works that they hope will boost their postseason chances. In a short time A 3-2 loss to the MetsThe Yanks finalized a one-week deal with the Royals for the outfielder. Andrew Benintendi.
The Yankees get: of Andrew Benintendi
Royals get: RHP Chandler Champlain, LHP TJ Sikkema and RHP Beck Way
“He’s a good player,” outfielder Aaron Judge said. “I had the opportunity to play against him for a few years when he played in Boston. I have seen him do many interesting things. So if that’s true, it’s definitely a big piece of what we’re going through here.
In a deal confirmed by both clubs in the evening, the Yankees sent three pitching opportunities To Kansas City in exchange for the 28-year-old Benintendi: right-hander Chandler Champlain, left-hander DJ Sikkema and right-hander Beck Way.
Benintendi’s acquisition helped dampen a losing streak away from the Mets, while Starling Marte’s hit by Vandy Peralta sealed a two-game Tunnel Series sweep.
“He’s a good player in the middle of an All-Star season,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “He has a winning record  Red Sox Championship Run. Obviously he was a good player for them, but he’s putting together a good year for the Royals right now.
Hush over seven innings by birthday boy Max Scherzer, Kleiber Torres’ two-run homer by David Peterson led the Yanks’ offense on Wednesday, going 0-for-15 with runners on in New York’s two games in Queens.
Boone said the left-handed-hitting Benintendi, an American League All-Star this season, could help improve an already strong lineup.
“It’s fake news that we’ve got a lot of power hitters, a lot of sluggers in the lineup,” Boone said. “We’ve got savages in the lineup, good hitters. Benintendi is a great hitter, gets on base at a very high clip, hits from the left side gives you some balance. … I’ll be excited to write his name.
In 93 games this season, Benintendi is hitting .320/.387/.398 with 14 doubles, two triples, three homers, 39 RBIs and four stolen bases. Benintendi’s 34 multi-hit games are tops in the American League, while he is third in batting average, second in hits (111) and sixth in on-base percentage.
“The dog days of summer, we’ve been grinding it out for a while, then you add a slice,” Judge said. “A guy who hits over .300 all year, plays great defense and is a spark in Kansas City. Anytime you bring him into the type of culture we have, that’s always a plus and an energy boost.
Benintendi has been in the headlines recently for non-baseball reasons, as he was among the Royals team that could not travel to Toronto because he had not been vaccinated against Covid-19. The Yankees have a regular-season series in Toronto (Sept. 26-28); The New York Post reported Wednesday that Benintendi told people close to him that he was getting the vaccine.
Benintendi, a 2021 Gold Glover who played seven major league seasons with the Red Sox (2016-20) and Royals (2021-22), has made 88 starts in left field this season, going 164 total innings without an error.
His arrival could create Benintendi’s outfield alignment in left field, a combination of Judge and Aaron Hicks and Matt Carpenter in center field until Giancarlo Stanton returns from the injured list.
Benintendi’s acquisition marks the end of Joey Gallo’s tenure in a Yankees uniform; Gallo is batting .161 (37-for-230) with 103 strikeouts in 80 games and was used as a pinch-hitter against Mets closer Edwin Diaz in the eighth inning Tuesday.
Wednesday was the Yankees’ 12th loss in 22 games this month, and they now have the majors’ second-best record at 66-33 (Dodgers 65-32).
“We’re still one of the best teams in the game, so I can’t really judge our season after a few weeks,” Judge said. “But I’m thinking of adding a guy like that [Benintendi] Will definitely give us a little bump up, that’s for sure. I think he’ll fit right in.
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