DUNEDIN, Fla. — The injuries are starting to pile up at Yankees camp. This one could have a big impact on the race for New York's final few bench spots.
Miguel Andújar has been sidelined for the last few days with soreness in his right hand and wrist, Yankees manager Aaron Boone revealed on Sunday morning.
Andújar hadn't played in an exhibition game since Wednesday. He'll see a specialist on Monday, along with catcher Robinson Chirinos who has a fractured wrist from a hit by pitch.
"We've held him back because he's been dealing with a sore wrist and hand," Boone said on Sunday. "We'll know more about it probably tomorrow or Tuesday."
Across six games this spring, Andújar was hitting .133 with two hits in 15 at-bats. Boone said Andújar's soreness dates back to the winter, when he initially felt discomfort from one swing when he was playing winter ball, but it's acting up once again months later.
"He was obviously playing and fine and then he noticed it in the last game he played," Boone said. "It just got a little more sore again. We've been treating it here these last several days."
Spring training stats only matter so much, so Andújar's early struggles at the plate wouldn't have necessarily been the deciding factor in his pursuit of a roster spot. If Boone and the coaching staff wanted his bat and glove on this roster, they could've found a spot for him. The issue now is if Andújar is out for an extended period of time, his role on this team—a role that's diminished significantly over the last few years—could vanish completely.
Andújar, 26, finished second in the race for the American League Rookie of the Year in 2018. Since then, he's played in a grand total of 33 games, battling an assortment of injuries. He had to watch helplessly from the sidelines while Gio Urshela won the starting job at third base after his breakout performance in 2019.
Give Andújar some credit, he's been working hard to expand his abilities on defense and find a spot on this team. He's improved in the outfield, after strictly playing third base throughout his entire career, but it's still a work in progress.
With the spring that veteran Jay Bruce is having, along with Tyler Wade's defensive versatility (and key ability to play shortstop), the path for Andújar to make New York's Opening Day roster was already murky. Now, even if this injury turns out to be minor, it seems like he'll definitely be on the outside looking in when roster cuts are made.
Boone didn't acknowledge whether or not surgery is an option for Andújar. It's too early to tell, or estimate any sort of timetable for his return, before checking in with the hand specialist.
That said, there's just about three weeks left until Opening Day. It's hard to envision Andújar lining up with his teammates on April 1 when the regular season begins.
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