For an athlete to be able to demonstrate his qualities he needs playing time and that is a pending task on the agenda of the Dominican Miguel Andújar, who currently operates in the Dominican winter baseball championship with the Toros del Este.
Andújar’s goal is not to be a star of Dominican baseball, where he owns that status, but to regain the space he once achieved with the New York Yankees in the Major Leagues.
Andújar became a valuable piece of the New York team in the 2018 season, in which, in 149 games, he batted for an average of .297, with 47 doubles, 27 home runs and 92 runs produced, finishing in second place in the voting. for the AL Rookie of the Year award.
When everything indicated that the Dominican would be the owner of the emblematic team’s anteroom, a tear in his right shoulder forced Andújar to undergo surgery, after having played just 12 games of the 2019 campaign.
Since then the powerful right-handed hitter hasn’t had a chance to hit more than 45 games with the big team.
After that injury, the Yankees looked for outside options to defend the anteroom, such as Colombian Gio Urshela and DJ LeMahieu, who have provided good results both offensively and defensively to manager Aaron Boone.
Since his return to the game, Andújar has shown that he possesses the usual power in his bat, as evidenced by the six homers he dispatched in 154 official at-bats last season, a frequency that shows that in a campaign in which he could exhaust at least 572 at-bats, one less than those taken in 2018, would equal the 27 homers he had in his only full year in the majors.
Andújar’s ability to produce has been recognized by manager Boone, but one of the factors that has hurt the Dominican has been being rated as a below-average defender in third base, which has made the team prefer Urshela and LeMahieu.
Faced with this situation, Andújar moved to the outfield, defending the left field in the big league 44 times, a decision that now looks more valuable, with the possible return of Venezuelan Gleyber Torres to the second pad, which would push the Yankees to place LeMahieu permanently in the anteroom and Urshela at short stops, or launching into the search for a shortstop in free agency, closing the Dominican’s chances in the infield.
But not everything has been negative for Andújar. With the current void that the team has in left field, the versatile player could find the hole that he has longed for so much and hence the importance of his participation in Dominican baseball.
Andújar defended left field for the Toros in this Saturday’s game against Tigres del Licey and, although the blue bats did not put him to work very often, taking action in this scenario will help the young player continue to improve his skills. facing the challenge of winning the position with New York.
Having veteran outfielders like Abraham Almonte and Josh Reddick, along with the Toros outfielder instructors, who have worked at various levels of professional baseball, are elements that go in favor of Andújar, added to the level of play that characterizes the Dominican league.
The task will not be easy at all, but Andújar must strive and do what is necessary to regain that opportunity to play, which injuries and decisions of the Yankees’ management have taken away from him and have not allowed him to show, on a regular basis, his talent in the games. Big leagues. EFE