Brandon Drury has missed over 30 games this season since hitting the disabled list on April 7. Initially believed to be because of blurred vision, it was eventually discovered that an irritated nerve in his neck was actually causing migraines. The Yankees clearly seem confident that he can return to the field of play because they activated him from the disabled list yesterday. Unfortunately for him, it won’t be at the big league level.
Demoting a guy the Yankees brought in to play third base may seem like a sign of Brian Cashman’s failure, but it’s far too early to make that determination. Drury is just coming off the disabled list after reporting that he couldn’t actually see the ball. Meanwhile, Miguel Andujar has hit .282/.296/.458 with three home runs since he took over at third. The Yankees would be nuts to drop him right now for someone who is seemingly still not 100%, is a worse defensive third baseman, and didn’t light the world on fire during his rehab.
The fact that Andujar had a 126 wRC+ in April alone probably guaranteed him the job for at least another month. However, at the same time, there seems to be evidence that suggests the league is beginning to catch up to him. He has hit an ugly .271/.286/.271 in 12 games of May, and though that batting average might look nice, everything else has added up to a 50 wRC+. On top of that, his strikeout rate is ballooning to 22% and his walk rate is basically at zero. This is not to say that he’s bad now, but he might need some time to figure things out.
Brandon Drury coming off the disabled list would have made for an easy excuse to demote Andujar to Triple-A. It’s all too easy to see a young player struggle and immediately send him back down. It’s good to see that the Yankees are giving him the time he needs to make adjustments. Andujar may have surprised everyone with his performance at the plate out of the gate, but it doesn’t always come down to pure talent. Sometimes it comes down to how adaptable you are, and whether you can cover up your weaknesses.
The Yankees are going to give Andujar a little extra time figure it out before they make any decisions about replacing him with Drury. Since Drury still has options, the Yankees are going to take advantage of that now. After all, nearly 300 major league games has shown that Drury is a league-average bat. Andujar, on the other hand, has shown potential to be more than that. If he doesn’t make it work in the next few weeks, they can always pull the trigger and make the switch. Right now, the Yankees are in wait and see mode.
For weeks we have heard about the upcoming roster crunch, but there really was never any threat of one. Not when you have the roster flexibility the Yankees have right now.