TAMPA — The Yankees added some versatile experience this offseason at left field and third base, the two positions that figured to be Miguel Andujar’s path to the lineup.
But the additions of Jay Bruce and Derek Dietrich haven’t deterred Andujar as he tries to mount a comeback from a disappointing past two seasons.
“That’s great. We have those players and it’s great for the Yankees to add players with experience like that,” Andujar said through an interpreter Tuesday after going 0-for-3 in a 4-2 win over the Orioles in Sarasota. “But like I said, I don’t control any of that stuff. For me, [my job is] to play baseball, play at the level I’m used to and give the best I have.”
What Andujar’s best is remains a question. He was the runner-up for American League Rookie of the Year in 2018, after hitting .297 with 27 home runs and a 130 OPS-plus in 149 games. But he needed season-ending shoulder surgery after playing 12 games in 2019 and then played just 21 games last season, batting .242 with a 74 OPS-plus while also spending time at the alternate site.
Gio Urshela’s emergence at third base led to Andujar adding left field to his repertoire last spring — he started seven games in left field, five at third base and six at DH in 2020. He said Tuesday he has spent the same amount of time working in the outfield as he has in the infield in camp, after playing both positions during winter league in the Dominican Republic.
Urshela, meanwhile, is expected to make his spring debut Thursday against the Phillies, taking the next step back in his recovery from offseason surgery to remove a bone chip from his right elbow. He was given a three-month recovery timeline on the day of his procedure, with Thursday marking exactly three months since.
“When I get an opportunity to get in the game, I gotta be ready to play,” said Andujar, who played six innings at third base Tuesday and five innings there Sunday. “That’s the way I see it.”