Miguel Andujar, a third baseman who was playing mostly leftfield in Triple-A, was called up to the Yankees before Friday’s series opener against the Nationals at Yankee Stadium and immediately was inserted into the lineup — at first base, a position he had never played in the majors.
Manager Aaron Boone decided to go with Andujar at first even though regular third baseman Gio Urshela was out because of a left knee injury suffered on Thursday afternoon.
Urshela might not be out too long, Boone said, after an MRI showed no issues other than swelling. DJ LeMahieu started at third with Tyler Wade at second.
Boone just as easily could have gone with Andujar at third and LeMahieu at first. The manager tried to put a positive spin on it, but the fact is that Andujar is such a poor defensive third baseman that the Yankees would rather play him across the diamond even though he had not played there before and their third baseman is injured. That speaks volumes.
"Just like the alignment," Boone said before the game. "He actually spent last week doing most of his work at first base leading into the [Triple-A] season. We kind of had him work over there pretty steadily last week just so he can get enough reps just in case a situation like this presented itself, so he’s been doing good over there."
First base has been a wasteland for the Yankees with Luke Voit still rehabbing from March knee surgery. LeMahieu, Jay Bruce and Mike Ford have combined to hit .154 with a .506 OPS.
If Andujar can catch throws at his chest and hit a little, he should get some playing time during the next few days. Voit, who started in a rehab game for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Friday night, could make his season debut for the Yankees next week.
Andujar got off to a hot start in three games with Scranton, hitting .462 (6-for-13) with three home runs, including two long balls on Thursday.
He played the first two games in left. On Thursday, he started at first and moved to third in the third inning because of an injury.
The first hitter of Friday’s game, Trea Turner, hit a grounder to first. Andujar fielded it and got the unassisted out with ease.
In his first plate appearance against lefthander Patrick Corbin, Andujar hit a drive to the warning track in center for the third out of the second inning.
The Yankees certainly remember the 2018 version of Andujar, who hit .297 with 27 homers and an .855 OPS and finished second to Shohei Ohtani in the AL Rookie of the Year voting. A shoulder injury wrecked his 2019 season, he lost his job to Urshela, and Andujar had only 62 big-league at-bats in 2020.
"Miggy’s kind of a unique situation in that he was essentially Rookie of the Year his first year and then has missed a lot of time with injury, and then obviously last year being up and down a little bit," Boone said. "I think it’s important for Miggy to play, and right now, obviously, we have a need and know what he’s certainly capable of and hopefully he can impact us tonight."
Notes & quotes: Top prospect Deivi Garcia, who has made one start for the Yankees this season, gave up five runs in 3 1⁄3 innings and walked seven in his Triple-A season debut in Thursday’s Scranton-Syracuse game. "Obviously, not a great first outing for him in the season down there," Boone said. "Hopefully, as we’ve talked about with him, he’s usually pretty good at making adjustments, especially when we identify some things that he may or may not have been doing and hopefully apply that to his next start." . . . Righthander Albert Abreu was sent to Scranton to make room for Andujar.