Miguel Andújar 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."
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 Gio Urshela 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 Gary Sánchez, trusting that better days would be ahead.
"[They were] just giving me you know encouragement and staying positive through it all," Andújar said.
"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 Gerrit Cole and catcher Kyle Higashioka 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."