The Yankees announced tonight that third baseman Miguel Andujar will undergo surgery to repair the labrum tear in his right shoulder next Monday. He’s expected to miss the remainder of the 2019 season.
The team and fans alike had huge hopes for Andujar, who finished second in 2018 American League Rookie of the Year voting, but his 2019 campaign will unfortunately come to an end after just a dozen games and 49 plate appearances. The 23-year-old originally landed on the injured list after just three games and missed the entire month of April as well as some time in early May before opting to return in an attempt to play through the injury.
Andujar, though, went just 3-for-34 at the plate with a walk and nine strikeouts in his brief return to the active roster before being placed back on the IL. Yankees skipper Aaron Boone said yesterday that Andujar was once again weighing his options and planned to talk them over with his family, though the decision apparently didn’t take all that long this time around.
The injury to Andujar is the most serious the Yankees have faced in a season that has already been permeated by health woes, but the team currently has both Gleyber Torres and DJ LeMahieu healthy as well as Gio Urshela playing the best baseball of his professional career. The club eventually hopes to have both Troy Tulowitzki and Didi Gregorius back in the infield mix as well, and if that happens, they’ll still have a strong mix of options to pair with first baseman Luke Voit in rounding out the infield.
That said, the impact of losing a bat that produced a .297/.328/.527 batting line with 27 homers, 47 doubles and a pair of triples a year ago can’t be understated. Andujar was a key middle-of-the-order presence for last year’s 100-win Yankees club, and while there’s no shortage or internal options to replace him on a fully healthy club, it’s also unlikely that any of the alternatives can match that level of offensive output. Whoever shoulders the load at third base for the remainder of the season will likely be a defensive upgrade over Andujar, who struggled with the glove last season.
Andujar will still accrue Major League service time while he finishes out the season on the injured list, and he’ll cross the two-year mark in the months to come. He won’t be eligible for arbitration until after the 2020 season and won’t be a free agent until the 2023-24 offseason. The Yankees, meanwhile, will be able to easily open a 40-man roster spot by transferring him to the 60-day injured list the next time a need arises.