Back on the diamond for his first baseball game since May 12, Miguel Andujar dug into the box in the bottom of the fifth inning Sunday and reminded the crowd at George M. Steinbrenner Field that he can still swing the bat.
Andujar, who slashed .297/.328/.527 with 27 home runs and 92 RBI in 149 games as a rookie in 2018, smacked a two-out solo shot to right field off LHP Anthony Banda and highlighted the Yankees' 9-7 spring training loss against the Rays.
After missing most of 2019 with a torn labrum in his right shoulder, slashing .128/.143/.128 with one RBI in 12 games before undergoing season-ending surgery May 20, Andujar told reporters Sunday that he had not faced live-game pitching since then.
"First of all, thank God for the opportunity," Andujar said through Spanish interpreter and media relations coordinator Marlon Abreu, according to Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News, "to be here healthy, to be out there. I got to say, I was really excited to be back out there and enjoy the game play the game. This is the first time I played. I didn't even face pitchers or anything like that when I was down in (Dominican Republic). I only face live hitting here. So yeah, this is the first time."
Andujar spent the offseason in his native Dominican Republic, where he trained for multiple positions into 2020. Yankees manager Aaron Boone said that Andujar approached the team about wanting to play positions other than 3B. The preference was welcomed by the Yankees after Gio Urshela thrived as the starter in 2019, slashing .314/.355/.534 with 21 home runs and 74 RBI over 132 games.
"Everything we have been working on has been working out," Andujar said, according to George A. King III of the New York Post. "For me it is a new position. I haven't played outfield since I was a little kid. We have great coaches here. What they have been helping me with has made a difference."
Boone told reporters that the Yankees would start Andujar at 3B in Tuesday's 1:07 p.m. game against the Blue Jays. He started at the position in his return to action vs. the Rays.
When exactly he branches out to OF and/or 1B remains to be seen, but Andujar is willing to play wherever the Yankees need him. With his bat still packing a punch, that gives Boone and the Yankees options.
"When you go through everything and have an opportunity to play, that's really what you focus on," Andujar said, according to David Lennon of Newsday. "I'm here. I'm here for the team. I'm here for whatever they need me to do. I'm just happy with that. Happy with the opportunity to play."