Looking for insurance at first base after the injury to Greg Bird, the Yankees signed Logan Morrison to a minor-league deal Friday.
The lefthanded-hitting, lefthanded-throwing Morrison will be assigned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
If the name sounds familiar to Yankees fans, it’s not just because Morrison, 31, spent 2016 and ’17 in the AL East as a member of the Rays.
In the middle of the 2017 season, Morrison — who hit a career-high 38 home runs that year -- created a stir when he said Gary Sanchez didn’t belong in that year’s Home Run Derby.
“Gary shouldn't be there,'' Morrison told the Tampa Bay Times shortly after Sanchez was named to the Derby. "Gary's a great player, but he shouldn't be in the Home Run Derby."
Morrison had 24 homers at the break that year and thought he belonged in the Derby. Sanchez, who missed nearly a month early in the 2017 season with a right biceps strain, had 13 at the time. Sanchez, who wound up with 33 homers, upset defending Derby champion Giancarlo Stanton in the first round of that year’s Derby in Miami, a competition won by Aaron Judge.
Morrison, who later said he was being critical of the selection process, not Sanchez, had a rough time from fans at the Stadium when he played there early last season with the Twins.
“They didn’t like the Gary Sanchez thing with the Home Run Derby,” Morrison told the St. Paul Pioneer Press at the time. “But you can’t fix stupid, you know?”
Sanchez said it’s been some time since he thought about Morrison’s comments. “That’s a long time ago,” he said through his translator. “We’re way over that stuff. Now he’s a teammate. We’re going to treat him as a teammate. We’re going to welcome him here in this clubhouse.”
Sanchez, currently on the injured list with a left calf strain, could play in a rehab game as soon as this weekend, which could set him up for a return early in the West Coast trip that starts Monday.
Miggy moving along
There still is a ways to go before Miguel Andujar is out of the woods with regard to needing shoulder surgery, but the third baseman, who is on the injured list with a small right labrum tear, took another positive step Friday.
For the first time in his rehab, Andujar took grounders and threw to first base Friday. He also has been taking batting practice outdoors the last couple of days. When the Yankees were in Houston, Andujar started playing light catch in the outfield.
“I was really encouraged,” said Aaron Boone, who watched Andujar throw before Friday's game. “Saw him throw from some different angles, obviously not totally letting it go, but pretty good pace across the diamond. So we continue to get encouraging feedback from how he’s responding. At this point, we kind of still remain optimistic with him being able to return at some point [this season]. Today felt like another good step for him.”
Andujar, through his translator, said he was pleased with how his shoulder felt.
“Felt good, felt normal out there,” said Andujar, who in Houston admitted to feeling some nerves before he threw for the first time. “Talking about that time in Houston, of course you’re going to feel a little nervous, but ever since I’ve gotten more confident about it, so you lose that sensation of fear as you do it more and more and more. I feel good.”