Miguel Andujar’s swing on a 2-and-2 pitch from Mariners starter Marco Gonzales was just what the rookie third baseman needed to snap out of a funk at the plate.
Andujar unleashed a vicious swing, sending the offering deep to left-centerfield and giving the Yankees a two-run lead in the bottom of the fifth inning. After he made contact, he gently tossed the bat and peered into the Yankees dugout.
It was a big moment against a scorching-hot team for yet another one of the Yankees’ youngsters proving themselves on a nightly basis.
Andujar entered the at-bat mired in an 0-for-14 stretch but went 2-for-4 in the Yankees’ 7-2 win over the Mariners at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night.
“The biggest thing for me is to stay positive,” he said after the game. “I know I can hit. I go to home plate with a plan and to do my job and try to hit the ball hard.”
Now hitting .290 with an .836 OPS through 60 games, Andujar has solidified his standing as the starting third baseman, at least for now. Brandon Drury, whom Yankees general manager Brian Cashman acquired in the offseason to start at the hot corner, is raking in Triple-A after recovering from a bout of blurred vision earlier in the year.
But if Andujar keeps hitting like this — he has 24 doubles, two triples and nine home runs — it’ll be hard to take him out of the lineup.
Gleyber Torres also homered, a solo shot in the bottom of the eighth, and manager Aaron Boone spoke of how the two top prospects have helped put the Yankees’ lineup over the top.
“I guess I don’t reflect as much on [where we’d be without them], more of just been impressed with obviously how well they’ve done,” Boone said. “They’ve been huge for us. They’ve been impact players for us. Just really proud of the way they’ve handled themselves, the way they have shown the ability to make adjustments, and I think they’re just kind of showing the baseball world they’re really good players.”
Andujar has performed so well that he ranks second in the American League behind Jose Ramirez in All-Star fan voting for third base, according to Tuesday’s voting update. He trails by nearly 400,000 votes.
Despite being penciled into the Nos. 7 and 8 spots in the lineup 45 times, Andujar is producing like a hitter who could bat higher in the lineup. On most other teams, he might. Not on the Yankees, though, and he’s all right with that.
“Everybody here can hit,” he said. “We feel good.”