It went unused for nearly three months, but Brandon Drury’s locker and much of its contents remained in the Yankee Stadium clubhouse awaiting his return.
That occurred Friday. Before the series opener against the Red Sox, Drury addressed his call-up, including the bout of blurred vision that initially forced his absence.
Drury, 25, whom the Yankees acquired on Feb. 20 in a three-team trade with the Diamondbacks and Rays, said he doesn’t regret bringing his problem — which he had experienced for years but hadn’t mentioned before — to his new organization’s attention. He said he feels good now.
“My goal was to get right and to be the player that I know I can be,” said Drury, who replaced Luis Cessa on the 25-man roster. “I have a long career ahead of me, and I didn’t want to not figure it out, keep going through it and waste another year.”
Drury, the Yankees’ Opening Day third baseman, hit .217 with a home run in 23 at-bats before being placed on the disabled list on April 7 with severe migraines and blurred vision. He crushed minor league pitching during a rehab stint, but when he was available to come off the DL on May 14, the Yankees optioned him to Triple-A. With rookies Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres producing, Drury — who had a .275/.323/.453 slash line with 29 homers and 116 RBIs in 269 games for the Diamondbacks in 2016-17 — became a spare piece.
“It wasn’t easy,” he said. “It wasn’t easy at all, but I worked as hard as I could down there to be a better player when I came back up.”
Yankees manager Aaron Boone, who said Drury could be with the team for good, praised his work in the minors. He earned a spot on the International League All-Star team after compiling a .314/.419/.488slash line with five homers and 29 RBIs in 48 games for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
“Look, he’s earned his way back,” Boone said. “I mean, I hate to say that because we really felt like, obviously, that’s a big-league player playing in Triple-A. A lot of times when a guy that is clearly a big-league player that’s had success has to go down for a particular reason, a lot of times the play goes a little south. That wasn’t the case for Brandon.”
The righthanded-hitting Drury returned at a time when the Red Sox are scheduled to start three lefthanders in the three-game series. Although Drury wasn’t in the starting lineup against Eduardo Rodriguez on Friday night, general manager Brian Cashman said he is likely to start against either Chris Sale or David Price.
Drury has played mostly at second base (128 games), leftfield (61 games), third base (48 games) and rightfield (32 games) in the majors, with one game each at shortstop and first base. Said Cashman: “We’ve transitioned him a little more to first base to give him and us an opportunity to clear a lane for more opportunities, and so I wouldn’t be surprised — I don’t know what Aaron has talked to you about — but I would fully expect to see him play first base at least one of these games this weekend.”