Apparently, the Yankees have a belief that when the Lord giveth, he rarely taketh away, at least when it comes to regulars who come back from injury. This means, however, one semi-regular now and another one right behind him is going to end up jobless beginning as soon as this week, injecting an unknown into team chemistry when it happens.
Brandon Drury, sidelined since the Yankees ninth game of the season with dizziness and migraine headaches, is scheduled to come off the DL on Monday and ready to play when the team caravans to Houston to play the World Champs.
The Yankees have said all along they traded for Drury for reasons that extend all the way back to last season when Brian Cashman tried in vain to grab Drury from the Diamondbacks. They like him and they want Drury to play third base for them.
But, as Yankees fans are more than aware, given Drury’s absence, Miguel Andujar was given an opportunity and he has responded with some numbers and defensive work that can’t be ignored. Through last night’s win against the Angels, Andujar is batting .292 with three HR’s and eleven RBI. Moreover, he leads the league in doubles with eleven.
Speaking to NJ.com, Aaron Boone acknowledged the tough decision coming his way, couching his words carefully:
Which may be a nice way of saying, “Good job, kid. I’ll make sure you get a single room while you’re at Scranton”. That’s overstated, but from where Miguel Andujar sits, nothing is going to sound good, except to say to himself this is the price for playing with the New York Yankees rather than the Tampa Bay Rays.
Only two years older than Andujar, Drury at 25 is hardly a veteran at this stage of his career. But when the Yankees like you, they love you.
The same is the case with Greg Bird, who will report to Tampa on Monday to begin the baseball portion of his rehab from ankle surgery. It could be said that by now, Bird has earned a Doctorate’s Degree in Sports Rehab, and seemingly, he is guaranteed a job for life if all else fails as a Rehab Coordinator for a team of his choice.
Bird’s timeline is further out than Drury’s and he is not expected back until early-mid June. But given the performance of his replacement, Tyler Austin, another headache is coming Boone’s way in deciding what to do with Austin. For the record, Austin is batting .290 with five home runs and 16 RBI in only 17 games played. Here’s a glimpse of his power:
Bird, you’ll recall stepped right into the Yankees lineup when he returned last September and was a vital component in the Yankees run to within one out of the World Series. Other than injuries, Bird carries no baggage with him, and he is a particular favorite of Brian Cashman, who once declared Bird as the “best overall hitter in the Yankees system”. Gulp.
To the good fortune of the Yankees, both Andujar and Austin appear to be mature and professionally well-developed, especially given their relatively young age. But the question arises in the case of both players – how much (more) can they learn at Triple-A?
Trading either player is or should be, a non-starter for the Yankees, despite the possible return either would bring. Also left out of the equation is the possibility of either or both becoming a super-sub role player, filling in here and there on an as-needed basis.
The easy way out, of course, is to say these are problems any team would love to have. But when it comes to jobs, money, pride, and confidence, things get a bit more real.
We’ll see how it all plays out, but you can expect a few hiccups along the way and it’ll be Aaron Boone’s job to keep the waters smooth as the Yankees continue on what is developing into a serious run of late.
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