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Brandon Drury returns, gets first start in career at first base

Aaron Boone sees him as work in progress and adding righthanded bat to lineup.

Boston Red Sox designated hitter J.D. Martinez is

Boston Red Sox designated hitter J.D. Martinez is safe as Yankees first baseman Brandon Drury waits for the throw during the first inning of a baseball game at Yankee Stadium on Saturday. Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Brandon Drury, making his first appearance for the Yankees since April 6 because of migraines, blurred vision and a loaded major-league roster, started at first base Saturday night for the first time in his career.

It came in the second game of a three-game series against the Red Sox at the Stadium and with Chris Sale on the mound. It wasn’t exactly a breakthrough performance, but it wasn’t all that bad, either, considering the circumstances.

Drury, who was called up from Triple-A Scranton/ Wilkes-Barre before Friday night’s game, went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts in the Yankees’ 11-0 loss. Aaron Boone attributed Drury’s struggles to the excellence of Sale, who struck out 11 in seven one-hit innings.

Drury held his own in the field, even making a diving stab and flip to Sonny Gray on Mitch Moreland’s hard ground ball in the second inning.

“It’s been good,” Drury said Friday of his adjustment to first base. “Nothing’s easy in this game, but it feels good. I feel comfortable over there.”

Boone said he liked what he saw from Drury in the field. He had said before the game that Drury’s athleticism should help his adjustment.

“I thought he played really well at first for the first time out there with us up here,’’ Boone said. “Obviously, made a really good diving play, handled a couple balls, handled the flip to first easy. So that was good to see.”

Drury, 25, was acquired in a three-team trade on Feb. 20 to play third base, but Miguel Andujar effectively locked up the job when Drury went on the disabled list. Boone said Friday that Drury’s versatility will give him an opportunity to contribute in numerous ways, but the timing of his call-up coincided with three lefthanded pitchers scheduled to start for Boston in the weekend series.

The lefthanded-hitting Greg Bird played Friday against Eduardo Rodriguez (and hit two home runs), but Boone opted to play Drury against Sale, a potentially tough matchup for Bird. Either could play against David Price on Sunday night.

“It was a consideration [to play Bird on Saturday], and I was leaning toward still playing Drury last night when I left,” Boone said. “Then driving in today, I settled on it. There’s still, as we build Greg up, there’ll still be days where I pick spots for him to be down. I thought today against Sale, and that matchup is obviously a difficult one, it felt like a good day for that and a good day to just load up with another good righthanded bat.”

Bird is 2-for-17 this season against lefthanded pitching. Drury entered play with a career slash line of .276/.311/.468 in 293 at-bats against lefties.

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