Miguel Andujar finally is getting a chance to build on the fantastic first impression he made.
Nearly three months ago, Andujar gave Yankees fans the most tantalizing of teases, driving in four runs to set a club record in a major-league debut and going 3-for-4 with a double against the White Sox on June 28. But circumstance and necessity dictated that the infielder be sent back down until Saturday, when the Yankees recalled Andujar and pitcher Jonathan Holder before facing the Orioles at Yankee Stadium.
In the interim, Andujar lit up the minors, hitting .315 with 16 home runs and 82 RBIs in 125 games with Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He grounded out to short in his only plate appearance Saturday as the Yankees beat the Orioles, 9-3.
“He had an outstanding day in Chicago and then unfortunately Dustin Fowler got hurt and he got called back. We figured we needed another outfielder,” Joe Girardi said. “There was temptation [to keep him in the big leagues) because he swung the bat, but the thing is, we wanted him finished off. We don’t want him necessarily to be the guy who plays two or three times a week. We want him to finish his development off and be an everyday player.”
Girardi said the Yankees hope to use Andujar at third base, and though there has been some concern that he could be a defensive liability, the Yankees believe he’s made progress. “Obviously, we definitely think it’s important that we get our eyes on him and get a chance to work with him,’’ Girardi said, “but I have a lot of confidence in the young man.”
The Yankees have opted to pitch Sonny Gray on Sunday and move the original projected starter, CC Sabathia, to Tuesday night. The change will allow the Yankees to skip Sabathia in a three-game series from Sept. 22-24 in Toronto, where his surgically repaired knee would have to deal with the Rogers Centre turf. Jaime Garcia will pitch Monday night.
Girardi earned his 900th victory as the Yankees’ manager on Friday but said Saturday that he didn’t realize he hit the milestone until sometime after that, when he was told by media relations director Jason Zillo. “I’ve been blessed,” said Girardi, who is in his 10th season with the Yankees. “I’ve been extremely fortunate to be here for this long, to have this opportunity through the Steinbrenner family and Brian Cashman, and I’ve been around a lot of great players and seen a lot of great things, and it’s been a lot of fun for me.”