TAMPA – Miguel Andujar's development continued on Monday when the 24-year-old returned to the left field to prove that he was able to play a more diverse role for the Yankees, with Gio Urshela already third stands.
Carlos Mendoza, who recently became Aaron Boone's bank coach, has worked with Andujar throughout the mid-season and remains optimistic that the 24-year-old can play the left field and first base in addition to the third.
But Mendoza also said after Andujar trained at the Yankees minor league complex that third base remains "a priority" for the Yankees and Andujar.
"He gets work everywhere," said Mendoza. "From the third to the first base to the outer field. The third base has priority and changes its position every other day. "
Most importantly, Andujar's shoulder is healthy after suffering from a torn labrum in need of surgery most of last season.
"He's fully involved in throwing," said Mendoza. "He throws from the field and from the third base without any problems."
Andujar has even smaller league options, which means the Yankees can send him to Triple-A Scranton / Wilkes-Barre without sending him waivers – something they can't do with Urshela.
But if Andujar adapts well enough to the other positions, he could make himself valuable, especially with the additional squad spot teams changing from 25 to 26 this season.
And there are still numbers for a fight for third base, with Urshela aggressively fighting along the route after emerging as one of the Yankees' most pleasant surprises after Andujar's injury in 2019.
General manager Brian Cashman said in the off-season, however, that the third base was Urshela's "losing position."
Andujar had done some work in first base this off-season, but according to Mendoza, he's already doing more advanced exercises there than in the past.
"He had done basic things around the base," Mendoza said of Andujar's previous efforts there. “Mostly just footwork. Now there are more stretches and throws received. "
And Mendoza has already seen progress.
"He looks much better than in the first few weeks," said Mendoza. "At the moment it is a lot for him. He is working off his tail, not only in all three positions, but also taking care of his arm. This is part of the rehab. Although he has fully recovered, it has to be waited for him Doing shoulder exercises. "
Andujars 2019 was practically wiped out after injuring his right shoulder in the third game of the season. He had to pause a month before returning in May, but went to the 3:34 win in nine games with no additional hits before undergoing surgery that ended his season.
Still, he's only a year away from the 27 Homer performance that made Andujar an integral part of the 2018 lineup.
With Gleyber Torres switching to full-time as a shortstop after leaving Didi Gregorius for Philadelphia, the Yankees need a backup shortstop – that could be Tyler Wade, who leaves Andujar as a first and third option.
With pitchers and catchers appearing on February 12, more players are expected to arrive in Tampa in the coming days. In addition to Andujar, Gary Sanchez and Luke Voit did punch training on Monday, and Mendoza added that Torres has been in Tampa regularly since early January.