Former St. Amant star Brignac dealt to Yankees

NEW YORK — The New York Yankees acquired infielder Reid Brignac, a former St. Amant standout, from the Colorado Rockies for cash, adding a lefty bat to the group of backups filling in for the team’s injured stars.

“He played shortstop, second, third. A fly-ball hitter, so we’re going to see if we can take advantage of the left-handed bat at Yankee Stadium. He’s a very good fielder, more so than a bat,” General Manager Brian Casahman said. “Gives us a little bit better of a platoon situation because all the left side of infield bats are right-handed. Simple as that.”

New York designated shortstop Alberto Gonzalez for assignment to make room for Brignac on the 40-man roster. The Yankees acquired Gonzalez from the Chicago Cubs on May 9.

Brignac should get immediate playing time in an infield that has been relying on a mix of rookies and bench players to take over for All-Stars Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez since the start of the season.

The Yankees signed Kevin Youkilis this winter to play third base, but he went on the disabled list with a bad back in late April. Jeter’s backup at shortstop, Eduardo Nuñez, was placed on the DL a week ago with an oblique strain, and he still hasn’t started baseball activities.

Brignac was hitting .250 with one homer and six RBIs in limited action for the Rockies before he was designated for assignment Thursday. He could cut into the playing time of Jayson Nix and rookie David Adams.

“I envision him as a choice that (manager) Joe Girardi will look at every day to see whether he wants to play him any spot in the infield,” Cashman said.

The Yankees made the deal with Colorado late Friday night and could not immediately get in touch with Brignac, so the 27-year-old did not arrive in time for the start of the Yankees’ game against Toronto on Saturday.

A second-round pick by Tampa Bay in 2004, Brignac is a .228 hitter with 11 homers and 73 RBIs in 719 at-bats in six seasons. The Rays traded him to Colorado on Feb. 14.

Gonzalez was 3-for-9 for New York and pitched to one batter Wednesday, getting the final out of the Yankees’ 12-2 loss to Seattle.

Cubs

Garza slated to start Tuesday: Matt Garza is set to come off the disabled list and make his first start of the season for the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday against Pittsburgh.

Right-hander Carlos Villanueva is heading to the Chicago bullpen.

Garza hasn’t pitched in the majors this season after suffering a strained back muscle in spring training. In his fourth rehab start, the right-hander pitched six shutout innings for Triple-A Iowa and struck out six.

“I think when they told me to go get six and I got six, it was enough lobbying than I could argue,” Garza said Saturday. “I’m just excited, and I’m just ready to do my part.”

Manager Dale Sveum said Garza won’t be allowed to throw more than 90 pitches in his season debut. Garza hasn’t started for the Cubs since July 21, when he suffered a stress reaction in his right elbow and missed the rest of the year.

Cardinals

Garcia heads to DL: The St. Louis Cardinals placed left-hander Jaime Garcia on the 15-day disabled list with a left shoulder strain.

General Manager John Mozeliak said the team became aware of the issue about a week ago and had hoped Garcia could work through it. He was charged with six runs and six hits over 5.1 innings in a 7-6 victory over Milwaukee on Friday, improving to 5-2 while his ERA increased from 2.88 to 3.58.

This is Garcia’s fourth trip to the disabled list, including a two-month stint in 2012 with a left shoulder sprain.

Astros

Altuve activated from bereavement list: In Pittsburgh, the Houston Astros activated second baseman Jose Altuve from the bereavement list Saturday after he missed the previous three games while attending his grandmother’s funeral in Venezuela.

Altuve was in the lineup batting third against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He is hitting .333 in 38 games with two home runs and 18 RBIs.

“It was a tough time, but it’s good to be back with my teammates,” Altuve said.

Infielder Jake Elmore was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City. He started all three games at second base in Altuve’s absence, going 4-for-11 with one double and one RBI.

Twins

Mauer returns to lineup: In Minneapolis, Joe Mauer has returned to the Minnesota Twins lineup after missing one game because of a stiff back.

Mauer was scratched from Friday night’s game against Boston after he woke up with back pain. Manager Ron Gardenhire says Mauer came to Target Field on Saturday feeling much better, and he was put back in the lineup as the designated hitter. The plan is for him to catch the series finale Sunday.

Mauer entered with a 14-game hitting streak and a .349 batting average.

The Twins also announced that right-hander Cole De Vries has been reinstated from the disabled list and optioned to Triple-A Rochester. De Vries has been on the disabled list since April 7 because of a strained right forearm.