After a small tear in his right labrum limited Miguel Andujar to just 12 games last season, the Yankees slugger declared himself healthy and ready to hit the field whenever (or if) the 2020 season gets underway. In an e-mail to George A. King III of the New York Post, Andujar said he is “very happy where I am at physically” as he approaches one full year since his last MLB game (last May 12).
“I feel great. I am working out five days a week building strength, working with the trainers, exercising and doing my best to stay sharp,” Andujar wrote. “It’s been almost a year since my injury and I feel 100 percent….For a while I was working out away from (Steinbrenner Field) with a trainer, hitting and staying sharp. I am back at the complex doing everything I can to prepare myself.”
Andujar was tentatively expected to be ready for Opening Day even if the season had started on time, and the 25-year-old admitted to being especially anxious to get back to action given that he missed virtually all of the 2019 campaign. That lost season opened the door for Gio Urshela to unexpectedly emerge as a big offensive contributor at third base, leading to the Yankees’ desire to try Andujar out at first base and left field during Spring Training in order to figure out ways to keep his bat in the lineup.
For his part, Andujar is happy to learn these new positions. “I am ready to play wherever the team needs me. I am ready to play, period,” he said. “I’ve continued to prepare to play any position I am asked to play. I look at it as having a number of doors open for me. They are all opportunities for me to play and I am going to try to take advantage of everything that is presented to me.”
Given that Andujar has struggled defensively over 143 career games as a third baseman, there was speculation even before his injury that a move off the hot corner was inevitable. His spring audition as a first baseman was a little shaky, and he was slated for much more corner outfield playing time in camp before the COVID-19 shutdown.
Delivering even passable glovework at any position would make Andujar all the more valuable, considering what Andujar has already shown at the plate. Andujar quickly emerged as one of the game’s top young hitters in 2018, batting .297/.328/.527 with 27 homers over 606 plate appearances and finishing second to Shohei Ohtani in AL Rookie Of The Year voting.