Yanks get Kearns from Indians

Apparently, Austin Kearns impressed the New York Yankees this week.

Kearns went 3-for-9 against New York in a series better known as the (ongoing) vigil for Alex Rodriguez’s 600th career home run.

On Friday night, less than 24 hours after the Yankees departed Cleveland, they acquired Kearns from the Indians for a player to be named or cash.

With the Yankees, the 30-year-old will have the chance to reach the postseason for the first time.

“It’s why you play,” he said, after the Indians lost to the Blue Jays, 8-1. “It’s why we all play. You play to win. Obviously, you want to do well personally. But the bottom line is you play to win and get a ring. That’s what means the most.”

Yankee Stadium will be a little foreign to Kearns, who before this season had spent his entire career with National League clubs. He said “the only guy there that I have any connection with” is Nick Johnson, a former Washington teammate who is on the disabled list.

When asked what he thought living in New York would be like, the Kentucky native replied, “I have no idea. I’ll worry about that when I have to. I’m sure it’ll be a little different speed for me. But I’ll make the adjustment.”

Kearns expects to join his new team Saturday. He said he hadn’t spoken with the Yankees yet about his role.

“When you get the opportunity to go there, you don’t worry about that kind of thing,” he said. “You’re going to a team where (there are) bigger and better things than worrying about playing time.

“If you ask anybody, playing in that atmosphere — whether you’re on the home team or visiting team — is fun, man. A packed house, playing on a winner, you can’t ask for anything more.”

Kearns is enjoying his finest season since at least 2007, batting .272 with eight home runs and 42 RBIs in 83 games. He had been Cleveland’s everyday left fielder but also spent time in right and center.

In New York, the right-handed Kearns will probably start in left field against some left-handed pitchers and serve as a bat off the bench.

Kearns had been traded only once before, from the Reds to the Nationals in July 2006. That deal was considerably more difficult for Kearns, who enjoyed playing in the nearest big-league city to his Kentucky home.

“The Cincinnati thing was a little different, just because we were a game out at the break,” he said. “I had been there through the losing times. Like I told everybody then, I think it was harder for my dad than anybody, because my dad would drive up and go to every game.

“This is something where it’s a great opportunity to go to a winner. You can’t ask for more than that.”