Notes: Andújar surges; Britton's rehab

June 10th, 2021

has been swinging one of the hotter bats in the Yankees' lineup, belting four homers over his past seven games entering Wednesday, including a career-long 449-foot blast on Tuesday against the Twins.

Andújar's explanation for the surge is simple: All he needed was an opportunity.

"I truly believe that it has to do with getting consistent at-bats," Andújar said through an interpreter. "I feel that it is definitely the difference. I also have to add to that the preparation, the way you prepare for the game and the way you prepare to face those guys."

Andújar did not homer in his first 18 games of the season, but he has played more regularly in the outfield following a season-ending injury to . Each of Andújar's seven starts this month has come in left field, with the 26-year-old having wrestled playing time away from .

With several injury issues now behind him, Andújar believes that he can reclaim the form he showed in 2018, when he had a .297/.328/.527 slash line with 27 homers and 92 RBIs in 149 games. That year, Andújar finished second to the Angels' Shohei Ohtani in the American League Rookie of the Year voting.

"I always stayed firm with my work and my responsibilities, preparation," Andújar said. "It was one of the few things that I could control, and that's what I focused on -- focused on the work and staying ready for the opportunity once it arrived."

Andújar's 2019 season was cut short by a torn right labrum that eventually required surgery. With cementing third base in his absence, Andújar received little playing time during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season and then was sidelined this past spring by a right wrist injury.

During that period, Andújar said that he leaned upon the support of his family and teammates, such as , trusting that better days would be ahead.

"[They were] just giving me you know encouragement and staying positive through it all," Andújar said.

Bumpy outing
recorded only one out in a Minor League rehab start for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Tuesday, knocked for four runs on three hits. According to Yankees manager Aaron Boone, the ugly line was not health-related.

"He feels good," Boone said. "I actually talked to him this morning and watched this outing. I thought he looked OK. It looked like [the ball] was coming out pretty well. I think he's trying a few different things within the rehab start; maybe pitches you might not throw in a particular time. I'm not overly worried about the results. He feels like his stuff is good. He's bouncing back well."

Britton, working his way back from surgery to remove a left elbow bone spur, is scheduled to make one more rehab appearance at Triple-A on Thursday before the Yankees re-evaluate his progress. He could rejoin the big league bullpen as soon as Saturday at Philadelphia.

Battery plugged in
Pitcher and catcher have been a consistent item again this season. Even with Sánchez slashing .353/.436/.618 with five extra-base hits in his past 11 games entering Wednesday, Boone said that he did not offer much consideration to breaking up the Cole/Higashioka tandem.

"Gary's going to have to take his turn [on the bench] at different times through the course of a rotation, so I felt like this was still the right time to do that," Boone said. "It doesn't mean I won't use Gary at some point with Gerrit."

This date in Yankees history
June 9, 1928: went 4-for-5 with three RBIs and hit a solo home run in a 7-3 victory over the Indians. The Yankees improved to 39-8, giving them a lead of 10 1/2 games in the American League.