TAMPA, Fla. — Neil Walker doubled twice in four at-bats in his first game action since signing Monday with the New York Yankees.
The switch-hitting second baseman hit twice from each side and doubled both right-handed and left-handed in a minor league camp game Wednesday.
“It was a quality day,” Walker said. “I hit a couple balls hard. That’s as much as you can ask for given where we’re starting from. Hopefully that’s a sign of my timing coming together pretty quickly.”
Walker is to take part in a simulated game Thursday and appear in his first big league spring training game Friday against Houston.
Walker played four innings at third and two more at first.
“It’s something that’s more natural to me,” Walker said of playing second base.
The free-agent infielder agreed to a $4 million, one-year contract, a 77 percent pay cut. Walker earned $17.2 million last season, when he accepted a qualifying offer from the New York Mets.
Walker can make $500,000 in performance bonuses: $125,000 each for 425, 450, 475 and 500 plate appearances.
The 32-year-old hit .265 with 14 homers and 49 RBIs last year for the Mets and Milwaukee Brewers, who acquired him in a trade Aug. 12
“Regardless of any situation in the past, I can’t let any of this stuff affect me,” Walker said. “This is too good of a situation. This offseason was what it is. So, it’s the past. My focus is on helping this team in whatever way I can.”
Notes: The Yankees released 1B Adam Lind from his minor league contract, and Miguel Andujar played first in the same game as Walker. Andujar has been competing with favorite Brandon Drury for the starting third-base role. … OF Jacoby Ellsbury (oblique) tracked 15 pitches in a simulated game and did on-field conditioning. … Former Yankees pitcher Chien-Ming Wang was at the minor league camp as a guest instructor.
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