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Rehabbing Miguel Andujar could return as DH or first baseman

He says he's "90 percent" as a hitter, and Friday he will throw from third to first for the first time in rehab.

The Yankees' Miguel Andujar looks on by the

The Yankees' Miguel Andujar looks on by the batting cage during a workout at Yankee Stadium on March 27. Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

The Yankees hope Miguel Andujar’s throwing program will allow him to avoid surgery to repair a slight labrum tear in his right shoulder and that last year’s AL Rookie of the Year runner-up will be able to return as a third baseman.

But it’s possible that Andujar could come back as a designated hitter or even a first baseman if the throws from third turn out to be too much of a problem, Aaron Boone said Thursday.

“I guess those are conversations that we’ll have and to some degree have already started,” Boone said before the Yankees hosted the Royals. “Can we do that on a short-term basis and put things off? Those will be the conversations that we’re going to have to have, but I don’t think we’re there yet. I think we’re trying to get through these rehab days, see where we can get him from a throwing standpoint, and then make those evaluations.”

Andujar said he’s swinging the bat at about “90 percent” and is feeling fine when he plays catch. On Friday, he is scheduled to throw across the diamond, which will be an important test.

“Hitting is not an issue for him,” Boone said. “It’s continuing to progress to getting to that point to where he can truly make the throws he needs to make and not hurt himself more.”

One issue is that the Yankees could have several DH candidates among their returning players when you factor in Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton and even Didi Gregorius. All probably will be ready with the bat before they are ready to take the field. But you can have only one DH at a time.

On Thursday, it was Mike Ford, who made his major-league debut after being called up to replace the injured Greg Bird.

Sanchez (strained left calf) would seem to be the first injured position player who could return. The catcher is eligible to come off the injured list Sunday. He didn’t think he needed to go on in the first place, but the Yankees didn’t want the injury to turn into something serious.

Boone said Gregorius’ rehab from Tommy John surgery “has gone as planned the whole way” but added that it’s too soon to set a timetable for the shortstop’s return.

Troy Tulowitzki, who also is out with a strained left calf, said he is feeling no pain. “Every day’s been a step in the right direction,” said Tulowitzki, who has been out since April 4.

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