Andujar optimistic surgery won't be needed

April 3rd, 2019

NEW YORK -- Miguel Andújar is not prepared to contemplate the worst-case scenarios attached to the small labrum tear in his right shoulder, as the third baseman remains confident that a few weeks of physical therapy will permit him to continue his second big league season.

"It's tough, you know? But at the same time, I'm optimistic, because my shoulder is strong," Andujar said through an interpreter prior to Tuesday's 3-1 loss to the Tigers. "When they did the physical test on my shoulder, it came back with really good results. My strength is there, so the probability of me working through this and getting back to the field is there."

Andujar injured the shoulder diving into third base during the fourth inning of New York's 7-5 loss to the Orioles on Sunday. He was able to play the rest of that game, including making all necessary throws to first base, but was sent for an MRI after seeking treatment on Monday.

"When I went back, I kind of landed a little weird," he said. "I felt a little discomfort, but nothing at the moment I thought was going to be serious, that was going to take me out of the game."

Manager Aaron Boone said that Andujar will be shut down from baseball activities for two weeks, at which time the 24-year-old will be re-evaluated. In the meantime, DJ LeMahieu will draw the majority of playing time at third base, though Tyler Wade could see an occasional start there as well.

"We're in the very early stages," Boone said. "I think it's just got to play out over the next few days. Then as Andujar starts ramping back up, I think it will become clearer."

Though he is the ninth Yankee to land on the injured list this season ( will become the 10th on Wednesday after his five-game suspension expires), Andujar appears to be maintaining a bright disposition. At one point on Tuesday, he strutted across the clubhouse with earbuds in, clearly enjoying his music.

"I've always had this positive mind since it happened, because I feel good," Andujar said. "I know there's an injury, but at the same time, I was able to finish the game. And now it's about following the procedure that we have in place and focusing on doing all that stuff. There's still a chance we can go through this and I can get back on the field."

Best wishes

No Yankees player may be rooting more for Andujar's speedy recovery than , who missed the entire 2016 season while recovering from surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. Like Andujar, Bird injured his shoulder diving into a base; Bird's incident took place while participating in the 2014 Arizona Fall League.

"At the end of '14 in Trenton, it was kind of starting, and then I dove back funny one time," Bird said. "After that, it never came back the way it did before that. I was progressively trying to play and keep up with it. I didn't have surgery until February of '16, so I played all of '15. I missed a month of '15 [preseason], played April, missed May, got a shot and came back in June."

That may not be the most encouraging prognosis, but Bird cautions that every shoulder is different, and his tear may have been more significant than what Andujar is dealing with. Ultimately, Bird opted to scrap attempts at rehab and have his procedure.

"I couldn't do what I needed to do to play at a high level," Bird said. "[After surgery], it felt great. Way better. It took a while, though. That's why I don't want to relate mine to his. I'm not a doctor."

Bird at third

In the wake of Andujar's injury, Bird took ground balls again at third base on Tuesday. It is something that he has been doing on occasion of late, though he has not played the position in a game since his days at Grandview High School in Aurora, Colo., where he was primarily a catcher.

"It's not that far-fetched to imagine a situation with a small bench where you wanted to make a move and you were up against it a little bit," Boone said. "Birdie, you don't think of him necessarily as the fastest or this athletic guy, but he was a catcher. He's got good hands."

Bombers bits

Sabathia threw 49 pitches over four innings in a Minor League game on Monday in Tampa, Fla., and could join the big league team after one more start. Sabathia will be moved to the 10-day injured list on Wednesday, when the club recalls Jonathan Loaisiga to start against the Tigers.

(inflammation in right shoulder) is continuing to long-toss at the Player Development complex in Tampa, eyeing a return to the big leagues in early May. He has yet to throw from a mound since being scratched from a March 5 exhibition start.

(impingement in right shoulder) threw a bullpen on Tuesday and is getting closer to facing hitters. Said Boone: "If that goes well, Dellin would be moved pretty quick, because he doesn't have to get built up like Sevy."

This date in Yankees history

April 2, 1996: Derek Jeter bats ninth, hits a solo home run in the fifth inning and makes an acrobatic catch in a 7-1 Opening Day win at Cleveland. He is the first Yankees rookie to start on Opening Day since Tom Tresh in 1962.