Miguel Andujar had been ticketed to man third base for the Yankees until they acquired Brandon Drury from Arizona in February. As it turns out, though, Andujar is going to get a chance to live up to his hot-prospect status at the hot corner, at least for now.
Drury went on the 10-day disabled list Saturday because of severe migraines and blurry vision and will undergo tests on Monday. He revealed to the Yankees that he has had the vision trouble for at least six years. So Andujar, the 23-year-old rookie from the Dominican Republic, is the new primary option at the position.
The Yankees recalled Andujar the third day of the season after outfielder Billy McKinney went on the DL. Andujar went 0-for-12 in his first three games, two as the DH and one as the third baseman, but he helped the cause against the Orioles on Saturday at Yankee Stadium. He singled in three at-bats and delivered a long sacrifice fly in the sixth that gave the Yankees the lead for good in their 8-3 win.
“The first thing is we want [Drury] to get better soon,” Andujar told Newsday through interpreter Marlon Abreu. “At the same time, I have to be ready for the opportunity. Whichever way the team needs me, I’m here to contribute and do my best.”
Andujar’s bat has been ahead of his glove, but he has been working on his fielding. “I feel that I’ve improved,” he said. “I’ve put in a lot of hours into improving with my coaches here.”
The former undrafted free agent has been impressive at the plate in the past. He went 4-for-7 with two doubles and four RBIs in five games during three stints with the Yankees in 2017.
He was so good last season in Double-A and Triple-A that he earned the Kevin Lawn Award as the farm system’s player of the year. The 6-foot, 211-pound righthanded hitter, who had 16 home runs and 82 RBIs, led all Yankees minor-leaguers in batting average at .315 and doubles with 36.
Baseball America ranked him as the organization’s fifth-best prospect going into this season, and he won the James P. Dawson Award as the Yankees’ top rookie in spring training. Andujar, who was optioned to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on March 18, hit .267 with four homers and 10 RBIs.
Didi Gregorius spent time throwing some advice Andujar’s way in Tampa.
“I just talked to him to just keep calm and just get him ready, just tell him, ‘Whenever you get a call-up, just play the same way you play in the minor leagues and you have nothing to worry about,’ ” Gregorius said. “He’s been doing really good in the chances that he’s played in the minor leagues, so I don’t think things are going to change.”
His manager said he saw “better” at-bats from him in this game but good signs before that, too.
“There’s no question in all of our minds that the skills are there to be a quality impact major-league player,” Aaron Boone said. “Hopefully, with this opportunity, he can find a comfort level and help us, because he certainly has the ability to.”
Andujar agrees with that, saying, “Definitely, I feel confident that I can contribute, and that’s going to come through hard work.”