Yankees In Exile: Gone And Teetering On The Edge Of Extinction

Exiled Yankees Greg Bird and Miguel Andujar (Photo: Elite Sports NY)

The 2019 Yankees, if nothing else, are a story about how roster depth can overcome injuries to key players. But that’s only half of the story…

The Yankees plan at the beginning of the 2019 season had Miguel Andujar slotted in as their regular third baseman. Coming off a stellar rookie season in which he challenged for the Rookie of the Year Award, Andujar only needed to work on his defense to claim the position for the next decade.

Instead, the Yankees were greeted with this news the day after the season began from MLB reporter Brian Hoch, who Tweeted:

Miguel Andujar has a small labrum tear in his right shoulder. He will be treated conservatively for two weeks, but season-ending surgery is on the table.”

Exiled Yankee: Jordan Montgomery Photo Credit: Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post
Exiled Yankee: Jordan Montgomery Photo Credit: Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Andujar would make an abbreviated return to the Yankees lineup on May 4, only to reconcile with the fact a few days later that his season was lost and surgery was inevitable. That was the last we heard from or about Miguel Andujar.

Joining an ever-growing list of exiled Yankees that includes Greg Bird, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jordan Montgomery, and possibly even Giancarlo Stanton (I’ll explain), Miguel Andujar carries a TBD label next to his name regarding a return to play date.

Exiled Yankees: There But For Fortune Goes…

For a major league ballplayer, listed as TBD (To Be Determined) on the IL is the same as when a judge issues a sentence of 7-15 years to a convicted felon. Go away, don’t come back. We’ll see you in seven years and then we’ll talk about it.

For a major league ballplayer, listed as TBD on the IL is the same as when a judge issues a sentence of 7-15 years to a convicted felon

In theory, Andujar’s sentence concludes sometime next Spring. In the meantime, though, you can search for “miguel andujar injury” News on Google to find no updates on his condition, rehab, or future with the Yankees.

What you will find, however, are a slew of stories like this one about his potential use in a trade, now or during the offseason. It seems that with the emergence of Gio Urshela and DJ LeMahieu at third base this season, Miguel Andujar is an afterthought in the Yankees plans. You are exiled at the age of only 24 with no place to call home.

A few months ago during the waning days of Spring Training, Greg Bird and Jacoby Ellsbury were still included in Aaron Boone‘s daily go-around with reporters regarding the status of injured players.

Jacoby Ellsbury, Yankees Occasional Outfielder (Photo: New York Post)
Jacoby Ellsbury, Yankees Occasional Outfielder (Photo: New York Post)

Today, enter “where is jacoby ellsbury now” in a Google search and you’ll find nothing – nada – on his rehab or for that matter anything connected to the Yankees. Is the charade finally over? It appears to be so – finally.

Perhaps, the only mystery now is whether or not Ellsbury will be invited to a Yankees Old Timer’s Game in the future, or will his exile be of the vindictive and permanent kind?

And what of Greg Bird, who still clings to the hearts of many Yankees fans? Google doesn’t seem to know where he is either. And that says something. Searching “where is greg bird now” produces nothing more recent than an article dated May 5 of this year as a mention in an MLB Trade Rumors story. Greg Bird never got to do it “his way.”

Quick, give me an honest answer. When was the last time you looked at the Yankees starting lineup and said to yourself – “Where is Giancarlo Stanton?” I’m betting you haven’t in a good long while, because he too is out of sight and therefore out of mind, with others having stepped in to keep the Yankees charge going. This, an exile of a different kind.

Jordan Montgomery, once the apple of Joe Girardi‘s eye, can at least claim he’s receiving updates in the media. The latest reports Montgomery is now throwing batting practice with an eye to a possible return before the close of the season. Or, maybe not. And perhaps he gets stuck in the quagmire of hopefuls and wannabes who descend on Spring Training for the 2020 season, fighting for a job he once owned.

These Aren’t The Wally Pipps Of Baseball

These are not the stories about Wally Pipp, who took a day off and lost his job to Lou Gehrig.

These are stories about one pitch, one at-bat, one wrong turn on the bases, that’s all it takes. Some, like Albert Pujols and CC Sabathia, hobble to the finish line of a career. Others have been blessed with good health, like Nick Swisher, and they need to have the jersey pulled off their back before they succumb to retirement.

Nick Swisher, Old Timer's Day, Yankee Stadium 2018 Photo Credit: NJ.com
Nick Swisher, Old Timer’s Day, Yankee Stadium 2018 Photo Credit: NJ.com

Still others, like Yankees legend Phil Rizzuto, get blindsided with a call into the office advising their services are no longer needed. While others like Willie Mays insist on stumbling around in centerfield for the New York Mets – because the game is just too much fun to give up.

For these exiled Yankees, the game has been taken away from them – completely and permanently as in the case of Jacoby Ellsbury – or temporarily as in the affairs of Stanton, Andujar, Bird, and Montgomery. What was, may or may not be, ever again.

Oh, to be sure, Ellsbury and Stanton are set for life, which is not the case for the others. But even so, for someone like Giancarlo Stanton, a sure-fire Hall of Fame career is on the line, only because he can’t keep himself on the field.

As the story unfolds, the drama surrounds which (if any) of these Yankees in exile will return to the place they once held wearing the Pinstripes. Place your bets here…

Written by Steve Contursi, Editor, Reflections On Baseball  (Thank You For Sharing)

Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.

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