BOSTON -- The Yankees and Mark Reynolds discussed the terms of a possible contract this past offseason, with the club searching for a slugger to play at the infield corners.
They did not come together at the time, but Reynolds has found his way into a Yankees uniform months later. Released by the Indians last week, Reynolds was in New York's lineup as the first baseman for Friday's game against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
"I think just being here and playing in Yankee Stadium all the time and being a part of the history, that's obviously appealing to anyone," said Reynolds, who officially signed with the Yankees as a free agent prior to Friday's game.
The Yankees were speaking to both Reynolds and Kevin Youkilis during the Winter Meetings in December; Reynolds jumped first, signing a one-year, $6 million deal with Cleveland, prompting the Yankees to offer a $12 million deal to Youkilis.
"I think it came down to me or Youk to Cleveland or here, one way or another, and we just got it done first with Cleveland, and Youk came here," Reynolds said. "So there was some interest.
"It was definitely both ways. I think the biggest thing for me was Cleveland having Spring Training in Arizona. I live there and got to stay home for an extra month."
In a corresponding roster move Friday, the Yankees optioned right-hander Preston Claiborne to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
They also designated infielder Luis Cruz for assignment to clear a 40-man roster spot for Reynolds, whom manager Joe Girardi views as a legitimate power threat who will be asked to play mostly first base in a platoon with Lyle Overbay, and perhaps some third base as well.
"We saw him play against us a lot last year," Girardi said. "He can really swing the bat, hit the ball out of the ballpark, and played an excellent first base, I thought, for Baltimore in the games that we saw him play there. He can change the game quickly."
Reynolds got off to a hot start in Cleveland, batting .301 with eight homers in April, but he compiled just a .187 batting average since since. Overall, Reynolds hit .215 with 15 homers and 48 RBIs with the Indians.
"You hear the whole 'change of scenery' cliché all the time, and it's true," Reynolds said. "I feel like it's my first day in the big leagues again today, with a new team and a new atmosphere. It's fun. I'm excited. I'm just ready to go out there and play."
Claiborne sent to Triple-A to make room for Reynolds
BOSTON -- Preston Claiborne said that he was surprised but understood when informed that the Yankees were sending him to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, but the right-hander is expected to return to the big leagues this season.
The Yankees optioned Claiborne to the Minors to clear space on the roster for infielder Mark Reynolds, who was signed to a big league deal this week and was in New York's lineup at first base against the Red Sox on Friday.
"We've got to make room and got to do what's necessary for the team," Claiborne said. "That's what I'm about, and I'm just going to go down there, get my work in, and when they need me, they'll call me."
Claiborne, 25, was 0-1 with a 2.88 ERA in 34 appearances for the Yankees, finishing 10 games. In 40 2/3 innings, he allowed 13 earned runs and 37 hits with 11 walks (four intentional) and 33 strikeouts.
Manager Joe Girardi said that the Yankees felt they needed to have arms capable of offering more distance like Adam Warren and David Huff, with long games always in play at Fenway Park as well as a day-night doubleheader next Tuesday against the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium.
"Going into what we have, the games here and the doubleheader, we felt like distance was probably a little bit more [important]," Girardi said. "Clay's pitched really well. I'm very pleased with what he's done, but one of those long guys could end up being a starter sometime during that series, so we kept it that way."
Claiborne said that he is hopeful that he has shown enough to be part of the Yankees' bullpen picture later this year, as well as in 2014.
"I want to be a part of this going forward," Claiborne said. "When that time comes -- obviously nobody knows what the future holds, and no position is set. When it comes time that one of those positions comes open, those positions will be fought for next year. This year, it's just a matter of getting back in the hunt and getting back in the playoffs."
• Ivan Nova will definitely pitch in one of the games of Tuesday's doubleheader against the Blue Jays, Girardi said, though he has not decided where to slot Phil Hughes. Girardi said that Hughes "could pitch either Tuesday or Wednesday depending on how this weekend works out."
• The Yankees will play each of their next 16 games, as well as 33 of their 42 remaining games, against American League East competition.
• Yankees third-base coach Rob Thomson turned 50 on Friday.
• On this date in 1948, Babe Ruth passed away at the age of 53 from cancer, just over two months after his final visit to Yankee Stadium, when his uniform No. 3 was retired. Ruth's body was laid in state at the entrance of Yankee Stadium for two days.