Brandon Drury’s Yankees tenure came to an end Thursday, a five-month stint that was marred by health concerns.
The infielder was dealt with outfield prospect Billy McKinney for Blue Jays lefthander J.A. Happ.
“I’m excited to go over there, get in the lineup and finish the season out strong,” said Drury, who hit .176 in 18 games this season after being acquired from Arizona in February. He was the team’s Opening Day third baseman but was placed on the disabled list in early April with severe migraines. He later revealed he had dealt with blurry vision for years, including when he was in the batter’s box.
He was activated on May 14 and sent to Triple-A, where he hit .294 with a .403 on-base percentage in a 55-game stint. It still was not enough to get his big-league job back as his replacement, Miguel Andjuar, took the third-base spot and ran with it.
“I had bad breaks along the way,” said Drury, 25, who returned to the Yankees on June 30 in a platoon role. “ I was in there and just had stuff happen that was wasn’t planned, that was unexpected. Baseball is a crazy game . . . It just didn’t work out.”
Drury added that he does not regret his decision to make his vision issues known. “I have a long career ahead of me,” he said. “I was happy to figure some answers out rather than keep playing through it.”
“This is a big-league player we’ve had to have in Triple-A for a lot of the year, just because of all that transpired early in the season,” manager Aaron Boone said. “Sometimes this game is not necessarily fair. To his credit, he’s been a pro the whole time.”
Drury made his big-league debut in Arizona in 2015 as a September call-up before splitting the next two seasons at third base, second base and the outfield. He hit .271 with a .767 on-base plus slugging percentage in three seasons with the Diamondbacks and was traded to the Yankees in a three-team deal with Tampa Bay.
General manager Brian Cashman said he traded for Drury with the intention of starting him at third while Andujar developed in the minor leagues.
“It didn’t play out the way we expected, because clearly he had been playing with a condition that he had concealed from Arizona and revealed here,” Cashman said. “I’m proud of how our medical team really drilled down heavily on trying to determine what was bothering him . . . While all that was taking place, here comes Miguel Andujar, knocking the door down, taking his opportunity and saying ‘I’m not going to give it back.’ ”
Andujar entered Thursday’s game hitting .294 with 12 home runs and an .828 OPS.
Drury said he will miss his teammates but is looking forward to getting more playing time in Toronto.
“I want to be in a lineup,” he said. “I want to be playing every day. I loved it here. These guys are unbelievable, made it fun to be here. At the same time, I’m really excited to be a Blue Jay.”
Said Boone, “I have a lot of respect for Brandon, the way he handled things here. Hopefully this is a fresh opportunity for him where he can go and let his talent show.”