The Yankees have been blindsided by bad injury news for most of 2019, but this one felt inevitable. Miguel Andujar has decided to undergo surgery for a labrum tear in his right shoulder, the team announced. The procedure will cost the third baseman the rest of the season.
Andujar, 24, suffered the injury on March 31 during a game against the Orioles. He attempted to dive back to third base and jammed his shoulder. It was a traumatic injury, not wear and tear related. He attempted to rehab it, and eventually made his way back to the big leagues. The injury persisted, however, robbing him of his strength and necessitating the surgery.
The third baseman placed second in the American League Rookie of the Year voting in 2018. Andujar hit .297/.328/.527 with 27 home runs on the year, good for a 128 wRC+. His defense needed work, but the bat checked out as for real. The lineup is worse without a healthy Andujar in it.
Some have questioned whether this would force the Yankees’ hand at pulling Andujar off third base, including Jeff Passan of ESPN.
Of all the New York Yankees’ myriad injuries this season, none has officially been a season-ending one until now. Third baseman Miguel Andújar will undergo surgery on his torn right labrum and miss the rest of 2019. Could ultimately precipitate a move off third base, too.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) May 16, 2019
A rocket for an arm represented Andujar’s calling card. If the surgery does diminish that, it could result in him having to learn a new position. That, however, is a conversation for a later date. The goal now is to get him healthy and ready for next year.
Thankfully the track record for position players having labrum surgery isn’t all that worrisome. Greg Bird’s bat played fine in 2017; lower leg issues, not a bad shoulder, seem to have derailed him. Brian McCann and Adrian Gonzalez both had luck returning from the procedure as well. At least there’s that going for the Yankees.
Losing Andujar for the year hurts. Gio Urshela has done a brilliant job replacing him, but one never wants to a see a young player undergo season-ending surgery. It’s a bummer. Get well soon, Miggy. We’ll see you next year.