|Miguel Andujar by the batting cage earlier this season. Photo by Jason Schott.|
Yankees Manager Aaron Boone announced on Friday afternoon that third baseman Miguel Andujar will be activated on Saturday.
Andújar went on the injured list on April 1 with a right shoulder strain and the Yankees had him take his time rehabbing, as they assessed if he needed surgery. Two weeks ago, he had a batting practice session where he was nearly at full strength, while taking a little longer to be able to throw the ball.
"He's ready to go, we plan on him being on the team again tomorrow," Boone said, adding on if he can play third base everyday or be eased back into things, "We'll do a little bit of both. You know, with our roster, the way it's set up right now, Gio (Urshela) will play a lot of third, so we can DH Miggy a fair amount as well. We'll just kind of mix and match based on the day, but feel comfortable that he's ready to go from a defensive standpoint."
Urshela has been superb at the hot corner, as he is hitting .331 (21-62) in 22 games, with one homer and 6 RBI, and a .400 on-base percentage.
Boone said of the impact Urshela's strong play has had on his decision-making regarding Andujar's return, "Especially with our situation right now roster-wise, it will make some sense that we'll have that alignment (Urshela at 3B, Adujar at DH), especially the next several days, quite a bit."
On the Yankees feeling that Andujar will be back full-time and the boost he provides, Boone said, "That is our expectation, that he will be back permanently. You know, he's passed some significant tests as far as the shoulder and how he's doing and feel good about that he's ready to handle this, and excited obviously to get him back in the mix.
"Miggy's a really good player and especially with so many guys out right now, to get a guy back that swings the bat the way Miguel does back in the fold, I think it will obviously add some length to our lineup."
Boone made clear that Andujar is not here just to hit: "I guess we'll see as it unfolds, but I view him as being a real viable option as far as playing the field. He probably wouldn't be here if we didn't think he could throw."
Andujar was the runner-up for Rookie of the Year last season, as he hit .297 with 27 home runs and 92 RBI, a .328 on-base percentage, and a .527 slugging percentage in 149 games. His plate discipline is ahead of his years, as he struck out just 97 times while drawing 25 walks. He was the American League Rookie of the Month in June and August 218.
The Yankees have been without (in chronological order): Didi Gregorius (Tommy John surgery recovery) since the start of the season, Aaron Hicks (left lower back strain) since the start of the season, Giancarlo Stanton (left biceps strain) since April 1, Troy Tulowitzki (left calf strain) since April 4, Greg Bird (left plantar fascia tear) since April 16, Aaron Judge (left oblique strain) since April 21, and Clint Frazier (left ankle sprain) since April 23.
That doesn't even include catcher Gary Sanchez's stint on the 10-day injured list with a left calf strain. He returned on April 24 while the Yankees were in Anaheim and he had a big series last weekend in San Francisco when he hit his first career grand slam in Saturday's win and then a two-run homer on Sunday in San Francisco.
The Yankees have also gotten a boost from Cameron Maybin, who was acquired on April 25 when Frazier went to the IL. Through Wednesday, he has hit safely in all five of his games as a Yankee, reaching in 9-of-17 plate appearances (.529 on-base percentage, 5-13 and 4 walks).
Boone said of how excited he is to see his players slowly coming back into the fold, "No question, you know, really proud of all the guys that have stepped up in roles that were a little unexpected, certainly even at this point of the season. So many guys have had a hand in us winning ballgames, and that's been really exciting, and guys that are going to play a role for us in some way, shape, or form moving forward this season and in the future, so that's been really nice.
"Yeah, you always look forward to getting your guys back and, slowly but surely, we feel like we're making some progress there and, you know, a handful of guys that are, I feel like, on the horizon, ready to join us."