By JOHN LEMBO
TAMPA — Trades don’t come any more jarring than the one Xavier Nady experienced last July.
He was standing on the on-deck circle at PNC Park when the Pittsburgh Pirates called him back to the dugout.
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He had been traded. He had been traded to the New York Yankees.
His first game with his new team?
Against the Boston Red Sox in Fenway Park.
“The whole day was so overwhelming,” he said. “I was so tired and so out of it, I didn’t have any time to build it up. Next thing you know, boom, you’re right in it.”
Nady started against the Pirates Tuesday night at George M. Steinbrenner Field, going 2-for-3 and scoring a run during the Yankees’ 9-2.
After the shock of last year’s deal worn off, Nady drove in 40 runs in 59 games with New York last year, batting .268 with 12 home runs.
The one blemish was that Nady — who was dealt to the Yankees with Damaso Marte in exchange for pitchers Ross Ohlendorf, Daniel McCutchen and Jeff Karstens, along with outfielder Jose Tabata — couldn’t help the Yankees reach the postseason. New York missed out on the playoffs for the first time since 1993.
“It’s been a blast,” Nady said. “The last two months were a lot of fun. Obviously, we wanted to be playing in October. But I think that with the additions they made this year…it should be a lot of fun and hopefully we’ll find ourselves playing in October.
“From the coaching staff to the front office, it’s been very welcoming.”
Though Nady didn’t taste the postseason, he did get a chance to play in the final game at Yankee Stadium. And though he had been a Yankee for roughly two months, Nady managed to soak in the moment.
“That was very special,” he said. “It was a very emotional night for a lot of people. For me being only being there two months - I can only imagine what it was like for guys like (Derek) Jeter.”
Nady didn’t make the trip to Bradenton on Saturday, when the Yankees played the Pirates McKechnie Field. On Tuesday, he got a chance to get reacquainted with former teammates such as Nate McLouth, as well as Pirates hitting instructor Don Long and manager John Russell.
“They got a whole different vision, and I’m sure it’s a good one,” Nady said. “Hopefully, it works out.”
Playing the field
Eric Hinske (left rib contusion) will be back in the lineup for Wednesday’s game against the Minnesota Twins. Originally slated to serve as a designated hitter, Hinske will start in right field, Russell said.
“He feels ready to go,” Russell said. “He’s played a couple of games in the minor leagues. He’s healthy, he feels great and he wanted to play in the outfield.”
After allowing eight runs in his last three innings, Sean Burnett worked a scoreless sixth Tuesday, allowing a hit and striking out two.
“He threw better,” Russell said. “He’s starting to trust his stuff a little more. With Sean, we know what he can do.
“He’s a competitor. He loves to get out there and pitch.”