ANAHEIM, Calif. — Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar have been linked since Torres’ arrival from the Cubs at the 2016 trade deadline.
They were highly touted prospects whom the Yankees, to use a phrase of general manager Brian Cashman’s, were “dreaming on” to be infield fixtures in the future. It appears that future is now, a bit earlier than even the most optimistic might have predicted.
Andujar, 23, has seized the opportunity that came his way when Brandon Drury went on the disabled list with blurry vision and migraines. Andujar is playing well enough in the field and producing otherworldly numbers at the plate. Even with Drury making steady progress in his rehab, it seems highly unlikely that Andujar will be dislodged from third base anytime soon.
Entering Sunday night’s game against the Angels, the righthanded-hitting Andujar had recorded at least one extra-base hit in 10 of his previous 12 games, going 21-for-49 (.429) with three homers, one triple and 12 doubles. He is tied for the major-league lead in doubles and ranks fourth in MLB history with 18 extra-base hits through 24 career games.
“I worked really hard for this,” Andujar said through his translator after collecting three hits, including a double, in Saturday night’s 11-1 victory. “Surprised? I don’t see it like that because I’ve been training very hard to be here, to help the team. You never want to lose focus of what you need to do and how you prepare yourself to do your job.”
Torres, 21, who made his big-league debut on April 22, has looked equally comfortable at the plate and at second base. Although he has been a shortstop much of his life, his transition to second has been seamless. Though not as spectacular as Andujar — few, other than Didi Gregorius, have been of late — the righthanded-hitting Torres has been just fine with the bat, entering Sunday 8-for-27 (.296) with two doubles.
When asked if he has found anything “tough” about his first week in the big leagues, Torres smiled.
“No, not really,” he said. “I mean, I worked five years, six years to be here. I got the opportunity, and most important for me is to enjoy right now, enjoy every day and help my team.”
Yankees infield coach Carlos Mendoza worked with both players in the club’s minor-league system as an infield instructor.
“That’s a credit to them because they’re always looking for work, always looking to improve their game offensively and defensively,” Mendoza said. “The preparation is the same since I had them in the minor leagues.”
During spring training, on more mornings than not, Torres and Andujar were among those doing early work with Mendoza on one of the back fields in Tampa.
“Their preparation is really, really good,” Mendoza said. “The quality of their work offensively and defensively [is consistent], and they’re going out there with confidence because they know they’re prepared. And they’re going out there and having fun.”
Mendoza wouldn’t say he is surprised at the pair’s concurrent success so early in their careers.
“You could see it in the minor leagues,” he said, again using “confidence” in his answer. “We know the tools they have and the ability to make adjustments. But to see it that quick here . . . ”
Mendoza paused and smiled.
“It’s good to see, put it that way,” he said. “It’s fun that we’re winning games and they’re a big part of what we’re doing right now.”