The pall that extended over the Yankees when Monday’s injury news came down did not, apparently, reach Miguel Andujar.
Despite sustaining a small labrum tear in his shoulder that landed him on the 10-day injured list and could potentially require season-ending surgery, the Yankees third baseman was upbeat Tuesday, saying he felt good and that he has not resigned himself to a lost year. Andujar was the second casualty of last weekend’s Orioles series, which also cost the team Giancarlo Stanton, who landed on the IL with a left biceps strain that could take a month to heal.
“It’s tough, you know?” Andujar said through an interpreter. “But at the same time, I’m optimistic because my shoulder is strong. When they did the physical test on my shoulder, it came back with really good results — my strength is there. So the probability of working through this and getting myself back on the field are there. It’s a matter of following up now with the trainers, following the plan we have on the table and go one day at a time and see where we are in a couple weeks.”
The AL Rookie of the Year finalist hurt himself diving back into the third-base bag Sunday and stayed in the game, despite some discomfort. The next day, he said, the symptoms had aggravated, leading doctors to give an MRI on the shoulder.
While he is injured, he’s still capable of using the shoulder, but isn’t, for fear of injuring it further, he said. That gives him some confidence that physical therapy will be enough, without resorting to surgery.
“I’ve always had a positive mind since it happened,” he said. “The physical tests were good and that’s encouraging. I feel good. I feel positive.”
In 2014, Greg Bird sustained a similar injury playing in the Arizona Fall League, rehabbed, and missed a month of the 2015 season. He continued to play with the torn labrum, but eventually needed surgery. Though Bird was loathe to compare his injury to Andujar’s — every tear and every recovery is different, he said — in his case, the surgery provided much-needed relief that Bird simply could not achieve with physical therapy alone.
“Right now, I certainly obviously hope [we can avoid surgery], but we’re in the very early stages so I think it’s just got to play out in the next few days and then as [Andujar] starts ramping back up, I think it’ll become clear,” manager Aaron Boone said. “Try not to speculate too much on it right now when it’s a bit of an unknown.”
In the interim, DJ LeMahieu will get the bulk of the playing time at third, Boone said, and Tyler Wade will see time there as well. On Tuesday, Bird took reps at third base, too —something, Boone said, they had planned to do even before Andujar’s injury.
“We feel like one of the strengths of our organization is the depth that we have,” Boone said. “We feel good about the fact that those guys will be joining us sooner rather than later and we feel like that the guys we have going out there tomorrow, tonight and in the coming days are more than capable of getting the job done.”
Andujar, meanwhile, is confident in the way he feels.
“I feel that the first step is the right step, which is to do physical therapy and see where we are in a couple weeks,” he said. “Why start thinking about the worst possible scenario when there’s still a chance we can go through this and get back on the field?”