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Andújar starts in the outfield; Judge on track

@Sportsgal25
February 28, 2020

NORTH PORT, Fla. -- Now starting in left field for the Yankees … Miguel Andújar? Well no, not quite. But any position the 24-year-old can add to his repertoire this spring will only increase his chances to break camp. Andújar looked sharp in the corner outfield during Friday’s 5-3 win

NORTH PORT, Fla. -- Now starting in left field for the Yankees … Miguel Andújar?

Well no, not quite. But any position the 24-year-old can add to his repertoire this spring will only increase his chances to break camp.

Andújar looked sharp in the corner outfield during Friday’s 5-3 win over the Braves, and he’ll trot back out there during Saturday’s split-squad contest as New York ups his reps at the position, and hopefully his confidence level, too.

Andújar had two nice catches in five innings of defense and drew praise from manager Aaron Boone for his pre-pitch awareness along the way.

“The ball [Ozzie] Albies hit to his left, my eyes shift, and [Andújar] was already on the move, like he should be,” Boone said. “I think he’s reading the ball well out there, he’s moving and there’s a comfort there. I think on one [hit], he even got a little turned around and there was no, ‘Oh no,’ so far it looks natural to him and comfortable.”

Boone cautioned not to read too much into Andújar’s move to the grass other than the value of exposing him to new roles and added Andújar will see time at third base and first base next week.

“Kind of striking that balance between not putting too much on him physically, because it’s important to build him up properly, but also trying to squeeze as much experience at all these spots as we can,” Boone added.

Andújar has Minor League options remaining, but the Yankees could definitely benefit from his bat in the lineup if the runner-up for the 2018 American League Rookie of the Year Award could rekindle the magic of his first season, when he slashed .297/.328/.527 with 27 homers and 92 RBIs in 149 games.

Sevy on the mend

Luis Severino was “in good spirits” after undergoing Tommy John surgery Thursday evening to repair a partially torn UCL in his right elbow. The Yankees’ starter will miss the season, but Boone said Severino still plans to return to camp in the next few days.

“[Head athletic trainer Tim Lentych] talked to him last night after surgery and said he was in really good spirits,” said Boone, who added he planned to reach out following Friday’s game. “It sounds like he’s doing all right.”

Numbers game

Gio Urshela was at his usual third-base spot during Friday’s win, but in disguise. A mixup caused Urshela’s uniform to be left behind in Tampa, forcing him to wear a previously unassigned No. 68 instead.

Judge moving along

Aaron Judge is still on track to return to action soon, and Boone said “the hope” is to begin to ramp up his outfielder after Judge hit live pitching in the batting cages for the first time on Wednesday.

Judge has been proceeding conservatively after experiencing soreness in his right shoulder during workouts at the Yankees’ Minor League complex earlier in the month.

Up next

The Yankees have a split-squad day on Saturday, with one group returning home to host the Tigers at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Gerrit Cole is slated to make his second Grapefruit League start in that outing, while Jordan Montgomery will get the ball on the road against the Red Sox. First pitch for both games is set for 1:05 p.m. ET on MLB.TV and Gameday Audio.

Dawn Klemish is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in Tampa. Follow her on Twitter @Sportsgal25.