Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Boone on Andujar: "There's a joy with which he plays the game"

Miguel Andujar (@Yankees)

One of the bright spots for the Yankees this season has been the play of rookie third baseman Miguel Andujar.

Through Tuesday night's win over Tampa Bay, Andujar has played in 108 games, and has a .294 average (121 hits in 411 at-bats) to lead the team among everyday players (for the record, Ronald Torreyes has a .323 average in 24 games played).

Andujar has 18 home runs, fifth highest on the team, and 58 RBI, good for fourth-best on this offensive dynamo.

After starting the season in the minor leagues, Andujar made it to The Bronx when Brandon Drury went to the disabled list due to migraines and he hasn't looked back. Drury has since been traded to Toronto for J.A. Happ.

Soon after Andujar arrived, another top prospect, Gleyber Torres, came up from the minors and took over second base, giving the Yankees infield a different look than they thought they would have coming into the season, and helping them race to the top of the standings after a 9-9 start.

Andujar was honored as the American League Rookie Of The Month in June, and continues to impress the Yankees and Manager Aaron Boone everyday.

"There's a joy with which he plays the game that I really admire," Boone said in his pregame press conference on Wednesday afternoon. 
"He's got that, he strikes that balance between having a confidence and swagger about him, but with a lot of humility. He's a really good teammate and he's come up here as a young player, wasn't given anything in spring training, took this this job and run with the job, is having an amazing rookie season, and is a big reason we're having a really strong season.

"He's been an impact player, you know, has battled through ups and downs that are inevitable for not only a young player, but for any player, through the course of a season and he's handled everything. He's adjusted, he's continued to work really hard on his game.

"There's just so many things I respect about him, I admire about him, about the way he goes about the game, the joy with which he plays the game. It's been fun to watch him grow and continue to grow."

Boone said of his initial reaction to Andujar at the start of spring training and , "The first time I saw him step into the (batting) cage, I was like 'that's special stuff, this kid can really hit.'"

On whether Andujar has exceeded his expectations of what he would do on offense this season, Boone said, "I don't think I'm that surprised, honestly. I guess you never know if a young player's gonna succeed to the level he has offensively, but I'm not surprised. I mean, you watch him step foot in the cage and swing the bat, and what's happening out there I don't think should surprise you. Maybe that's happened quickly and he's just made the adjustments and hit the ground running, maybe just a little bit. The swing suggests that's what he is."

Boone was asked about the joy he sees in Andujar playing the game and he said, "I love coming across people that enjoy what they do. That's for baseball players, whoever you come across, when somebody has a passion for what they're doing and do something with the joy, it makes me happy. I enjoy watching it. I get a kick out of seeing people enjoying what they're doing.

"As far a young player coming up, him and Gleyber (Torres), for that matter, and coming up and being so wildly successful, I also think that's a credit to our organization and to our team and to the veterans that are in the clubhouse that I think allow young players to come up here and be themselves and thrive and feel comfortable pretty early on. That's something that is really important to me."

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