CHICAGO — Chris Carter was back in the Yankees’ clubhouse on Thursday.
Miguel Andujar, who went 3-for-4 with four RBIs in his big-league debut Wednesday night, was not, optioned back to the minors before Thursday night’s game against the White Sox.
That bit of pregame news had many Yankees fans expressing anger, to say the least, on social media. But there was a common-sense element to the move.
Andujar, 22, had spent all of a week with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre before his promotion Wednesday, as the Yankees needed a DH that night. But they are developing him to be an everyday third baseman, something he’s not ready for at this level yet.
Also, Joe Girardi had Aaron Judge at DH on Thursday night and might give Judge and Brett Gardner a few more games there in the near future, meaning DH opportunities for Andujar would be limited.
“He had a great day and let me tell you, it’s hard to send him down,” Girardi said. “But we want him playing third base every day and to continue to develop. This, I really believe, will not be the last time we see him. We thought let’s finish him off down there. He could be back tomorrow, the way things have happened around here.”
Additionally, and perhaps more significant at the moment, the Yankees are a mess at first base. Greg Bird’s right ankle bruise is showing little improvement (he was placed on the 60-day DL) and Tyler Austin, who had been playing first since coming up last Saturday, was placed on the DL with what the Yankees called a “high-grade” right hamstring strain.
Girardi said it’s not feasible for backup catcher Austin Romine to continue as the everyday first baseman, for obvious reasons. “You need another one [first baseman] and we just felt like Chris is familiar with what goes on here,” Girardi said. “He was going to go to Scranton and I applaud him for that because he wanted to go play. I figured I’d give him [Thursday] off because he hasn’t really done anything in five days, and then we’ll try to get him going. He’s played, obviously, a lot more first base, and if you get him hot, he can impact a baseball and do a lot of damage.”
Carter, who hit .204 and slugged .383 with eight homers and 23 RBIs in 57 games before being designated for assignment last Saturday, went unclaimed and had accepted his assignment to Scranton. Instead, he ended up back in the big leagues. “Definitely crazy how this game works sometimes,” Carter said.
As part of the roster maneuverings to create room on the 40-man roster, Mason Williams was designated for assignment.
Girardi said Matt Holliday, placed on the DL on Wednesday with an undiagnosed viral infection, underwent a series of tests in New York on Thursday. Girardi hopes the club will have results of those tests sometime this weekend.
CC set to return?
Nearly five hours before the scheduled first pitch Thursday night, CC Sabathia, out since June 14 with a left hamstring strain, threw a three-inning simulated game and declared himself “ready to go.”
Meaning, ready to rejoin the rotation in five days, something Girardi didn’t discount. “I think it’s definitely a possibility,” he said.
Sabathia was 7-2 with a 3.46 ERA when he went on the DL, including 5-0 with a 0.99 ERA in his last six starts.