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Solarte focused squarely on making big league team

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Solarte focused squarely on making big league team

TAMPA, Fla. -- Yangervis Solarte spent all of last season waiting for a call that never came.

The switch-hitter said that he had been told that the Rangers planned to bring him up at the end of the season, a nod to his solid performance at Triple-A Round Rock. But the 26-year-old instead flew home to Venezuela still waiting for his first day of big league service time.

"I don't even want to mention the word 'Triple-A' at this moment," Solarte said through an interpreter. "My dream is to play in the Majors. I got very hurt when I did not get called up to the Majors last year, so I feel that I can't get my heart broken like that again."

A non-roster invitee, Solarte's live bat and versatility have opened some eyes this spring in Yankees camp. Solarte entered Tuesday with six hits in seven Grapefruit League at-bats, including two homers.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi has had Solarte play multiple positions, using him at second base, third base, shortstop and left field. Solarte said that his favorite position is shortstop, but he has played mostly second base as a professional.

"I've said, if you have a uniform on and you can play different positions, you have a chance," Girardi said. "He's going to get a good look. He's got some versatility. We're looking for versatility, because of our infield situation, and he has that."

"That's one of my abilities as a player, that flexibility," Solarte said. "I feel like they are taking that into account. My defense is one of the things that I would really like to work on very hard during the spring."

Solarte said that he never sought an explanation why the Rangers did not call him up in 2013, saying that it was not his place to question those decisions. Solarte hit .276 with 12 homers and 75 RBIs in 133 games at Triple-A.

He has been talking with his uncle, former big league outfielder Roger Cedeno, about keeping a positive attitude. Solarte said that he does not want to think about the possibility of not making the team out of camp.

"I'm tired of the Minors," Solarte said. "I feel that I have done everything I could do. I love playing baseball, I have worked so hard, I have met every goal that I had. Now I feel that the next challenge is the Major Leagues."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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