New York Yankees third baseman Miguel Andujar appears to be making progress toward a return from his shoulder surgery in May.
The New York Yankees might have a good problem on their hands at third base. After rising star Miguel Andujar missed the majority of the 2019 season with a shoulder injury, the Yankees were blessed with the emergence of Gio Urshela. But now, it seems Andujar is making progress preparing for the 2020 season.
Andujar played in just 12 games during the 2019 season. The 24-year-old elected to undergo surgery on May 15 to repair a labrum tear in his shoulder. It ended his season with a slash line of .128/.143/.128 in just 49 plate appearances. It was a lost season for the third-year slugger, but there’s video evidence that he making progress toward a return for the 2020 spring. Andujar was seen fielding ground balls and making throws to first—a good sign his throwing program is going well.
— Jordan Bonadona (@JordanBonadona) November 20, 2019
The Yankees are in an interesting situation with Andujar. The talent he has as a hitter is undeniable. During his rookie season in 2018, Andujar slashed .297/.328/.855 with 27 home runs, 92 RBIs and 130 OPS+. He earned Rookie of the Year runner up honors with a valid argument that he should have won the award. But that’s neither here nor there.
There could be some movement coming in the future if the Yankees feel the right opportunity presents itself. General manager Brian Cashman said during the MLB GM Meetings that there has been plenty of trade interest around the league from teams potentially looking at Andujar.
“I’m definitely getting a lot of interest in Miguel Andujar while I’m sitting down here,” said Cashman to ESPN during November’s meetings. “I’ve got clubs asking me, ‘What are you going to do with him? We’d have an interest in him. Mark us down.’”
While Andujar’s presence at the plate is extremely impactful, there are concerns with his defense. The San Cristobal native committed 15 errors during his rookie season. Fielding can be improved, but it remains to be seen if the Yankees are willing to stick around through that.
Andujar’s future in the Bronx also relies on how the Yankees feel about Urshela. Do they see him as a future starter at the position? Or was his incredible 2019 season more of an outlier? If its the latter, Andujar’s future could be secure. However, there is no way of truly knowing.
The Yankees have a solid core of young players—Andujar included—and it will be interesting to see if he competes for the starting third base role or if he’s wearing another uniform during spring training.