The Yankees announced on Monday that they’ve reinstated infielder Brandon Drury from the 10-day disabled list and optioned him to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The move means that for the time being, New York will continue to rely upon Miguel Andujar, Gleyber Torres, Tyler Austin, Neil Walker and Ronald Torreyes around the infield, with Drury somewhat surprisingly waiting in the wings at Triple-A on the heels of a very productive minor league rehab assignment.
Drury hit the disabled list last month due to ongoing migraine issues and blurred vision. He’s reportedly tried out wearing some yellow-tinted glasses during rehab games in an effort to aid his vision, and while it may have been mere coincidence, the results from his recent stretch of 11 games with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre were impressive; in 42 plate appearances, he hit .343/.452/.514 with a homer and three doubles.
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However, Drury’s placement on the DL opened the door for some younger prospects to make their debuts, and during his absence, Walker’s bat began to show signs of life. The veteran Walker is hitting .346/.514/.462 in 35 plate appearances this month and has provided the Yankees with some key hits, while Andujar and Torres have shown varying degrees of promise. In the case of Torres, he’s hitting .319/.360/.493 with three homers through his first 76 big league plate appearances and hasn’t done much of anything to give the Yankees cause to send him back down to the minors.
It’s more arguable that Andujar has shown some cracks at the big league level and could yet be in need of refinement. While he’s hitting .282 with a .458 slugging percentage, Andujar has drawn just three walks in 135 plate appearances, resulting in a paltry .296 on-base percentage. While he’s not striking out much, his .337 average on balls in play is considerably higher than the league norm of .295. If that BABIP regresses at all, then he could very well see his OBP fall into the .280 range. For the time being, he’s hit in six straight games (8-for-25), though all of his hits in that time have been singles.
The Yankees could’ve created a temporary solution by sending Austin to Triple-A, but the 26-year-old has slugged five homers in 89 plate appearances despite hitting just .222 with a .292 on-base percentage. Austin seems likely to be a roster casualty when Greg Bird is ready to be activated from the disabled list anyhow.
Whether due to an injury somewhere around the big league infield or a slump from Andujar, it still seems reasonable to expect that Drury will be back with the Yankees at some point in the relatively near future.