It had to be a bitter pill for Miguel Andujar to swallow. The Rookie of the Year candidate’s season ended Tuesday night when the Yankees lost Game 4 of the ALDS to the Red Sox, 4-3.
It’s not just the losing. Andujar was benched because of his poor defense at third base and never got off that bench as the Yankees were eliminated.
Manager Aaron Boone sat Andujar against righthander Rick Porcello in favor of Neil Walker. Boone cited Walker’s steadier glove with CC Sabathia starting for the Yankees.
As it turned out, the Red Sox didn’t hit any balls to Walker during Sabathia’s three innings and he only had one chance all game. And even though Walker went 1-for-3 and had a run-scoring hit by pitch in the ninth inning, the Yankees' offense didn’t have Andujar, who hit .297 with 27 home runs, 92 RBIs and an .855 OPS in a breakout season.
“Just staying ready for whatever opportunity, if it came up,” Andujar said through his translator. “Just being there for my team. It’s tough, but things like that — I don’t make lineups. Just control what I can.”
Boone removed Andujar for defense early in the Yankees’ two postseason wins. Overall, Andujar was 2-for-10 with no RBIs at the plate and made one error in the field. But every ball hit his way put fear into Boone’s eyes until he chose to not use the 23-year-old at third base in an elimination game.
The good news is Andujar is young and can improve. The Yankees haven’t talked about a position change — yet — and Andujar will go into spring training with a chance to change the story.
“Keep working on my routine,” Andujar said. “Not to give up on it. The goal is to be more consistent overall. I think I can get there through work and my routine.”