The month was February. It was frigid in New York, and in Florida, a debate was heating up. If Miguel Andujar was really the player he showed in spring training, what would that mean for his immediate future, and what, in particular, would it mean for Brandon Drury, the Yankees’ intended third baseman?
The month is now April. It still was pretty chilly in New York — or at least it was right before first pitch Monday night — and around Yankee Stadium, a debate was getting reheated.
It appears that Drury, who last played April 6 because of blurred vision and migraines, is getting closer to a return from the disabled list, and Andujar — whose hot streak continued Monday night — might be as good as was advertised in February.
So what now, Aaron Boone?
“I look forward to those options, because a couple weeks ago, we were struggling just to get a team out there a couple of those nights,” Boone said, adding that Drury is set to play with Triple-A Scranton/ Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday but has no set timetable for a return to the major leagues.
The focus is on making “forward progress with some of the issues he’s had,” Boone said. “I like having the problem [of too many options] . . . If he can get past [the migraines], we know we’ve got a really good player. We’ll just evaluate it and make decisions on that front as we go.”
It’s true that it’s never bad to have too many good options, but the Yankees might be taking this to the extreme. There’s Drury, who was pretty good even when he couldn’t clearly see the ball as it hurtled toward him, and now there’s Andujar, who’s made the most out of his call-up.
Andujar entered Monday night with a .542/.560/1.167 slash line, seven doubles, a triple, two homers and seven RBIs in his previous six games — and then homered on Jake Odorizzi’s first pitch of the second inning. He added a double in the sixth. He has at least one extra-base hit in seven straight games, joining Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio as the only Yankees under 24 to achieve that feat, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
“It’s a big honor and I’m super-happy about that. For my name to be in the same sentence as [Mantle and DiMaggio] means a lot,” Andujar said through a translator. “Throughout my career, I’ve been able to make good contact and connect with the barrel of the bat.”
“He’s really a gifted hitter and I think he’s gotten comfortable,” Boone said of Andujar, adding that he especially likes what he sees him doing against the slider. “He’s hitting pitcher’s pitches and he’s handling them because he keeps his bat in the hitting zone for so long. It’s one of the things why we think he has the chance to be such a good hitter.”
Drury can play second base, but the Yankees have a highly regarded prospect there in Gleyber Torres. Shortstop belongs to Didi Gregorius. First baseman Greg Bird (ankle) said last week that he expects to be back by May, and if the infield looks crowded now, we haven’t even gotten to Neil Walker and Tyler Austin and Ronald Torreyes.
As for Drury, he said doctors have traced the problem to a tendon in his neck, but he didn’t have too many other details. He’s gotten treatment on it, including acupuncture, and that has alleviated some of the symptoms. It’s something he has dealt with for as long as six years — he has stepped into a batter’s box when he couldn’t see, he has said — and he’s happy to finally get closer to some sort of answer.
“Everything is just blurry,” he said. “They have an idea of what it is and we’re going after it each day to try to figure out how to get it a little bit better each day . . . It feels better. I still have room for improvement, no doubt. I’ve been dealing with it for a while. It’s been a few weeks, so nothing disappears that fast, but I definitely feel an improvement and hopefully I can keep getting better.”
So the medical questions are on their way to being answered. The lineup questions? That might take a while.