MINNEAPOLIS -- Yankees manager Joe Girardi said telling players they've been released is the hardest part of his job.
"I hate it," he said.
Girardi had to do just that on Sunday when the Yankees made the decision to designate Alfonso Soriano for assignment prior to New York's 9-7 win over the Minnesota Twins, ending his second stint with the club.
Soriano, 38, was hitting .221 with six home runs over 67 games this season. The move made room for pitcher Bruce Billings to be added to the roster.
"It was extremely difficult," Girardi said. "(Soriano) has been a great Yankee and a
great player. We felt we needed some more pitching."
Soriano broke into the majors with the Yankees in 1999 before moving to Texas,
Washington and the Chicago Cubs. The Yankees re-acquired Soriano from the Cubs prior to last year's trade deadline. The reunion was a pleasant one as he hit .256 with 17 home runs and 50 RBIs in 58 games played with New York last season.
In all, Soriano spent parts of seven seasons with the Yankees, hitting .276 with 121
home runs, 343 RBIs and 130 steals.
"I'm sure it's extremely disappointing for him, but Sori always handles everything
with class and respect and that's what he did," Girardi said.
Billings, 28, has a 5.31 ERA in 11 starts at Triple-A this season. Girardi said more
arms were needed in the bullpen.
"The taxing of the bullpen kind of forced us to make this move today," he said. "I'm
not saying it wouldn't have happened, but we had to make it today because we needed pitching."