SEATTLE (AP) – Mark Bellhorn switched sides Tuesday, signing with the New York Yankees after winning the World Series with the Boston Red Sox last season.

The infielder was put on unconditional release waivers by Boston on Friday after he refused to accept a minor league assignment. He had been designated for assignment on Aug. 19. Bellhorn played a pivotal role in Boston’s comeback against the Yankees in last year’s ALCS, hitting a three-run homer in Game 6 and a solo shot in Game 7 to help the Red Sox become the first major league team to overcome a 3-0 series deficit. He also homered in Game 1 of Boston’s World Series sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals. But this season, the strikeout prone second baseman hit just .216 with 109 strikeouts in 283 at-bats. He went on the disabled list with a sprained left thumb July 18, a day after getting hurt while diving for Jason Giambi’s grounder at Fenway Park, and missed the next 28 games.

The Yankees moved Carl Pavano from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL to make room for Bellhorn.

After slugging 27 homers for the Chicago Cubs in 2002, Bellhorn hit just .221 in 2003 during stops in Chicago and Colorado. The Red Sox – who highly valued his ability to draw walks – picked him up on the cheap for a player to be named that offseason and planned to platoon him with Pokey Reese at second base. Bellhorn rebounded with a series of career highs in 2004: a .264 batting average, 82 RBIs, 93 runs and 88 walks – good for third in the AL. He also hit 17 homers and posted .373 on-base percentage.

He followed that up with three homers in Boston’s run to the city’s first world championship in 86 years. He batted .500 in the World Series sweep.

The eight-year veteran has a .238 career average with a .350 on-base percentage while playing for Oakland, Chicago, Colorado and Boston.

AP-ES-08-30-05 1722EDT


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