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Andújar working at 1B, OF to expand versatility

@BryanHoch
February 18, 2020

TAMPA, Fla. -- Miguel Andújar has been receiving a crash course at two new positions this spring, scooping balls at first base and shagging flies in the outfield, and he believes that he could see time there in Grapefruit League games as soon as this weekend. "There's progress," Andújar said

TAMPA, Fla. -- Miguel Andújar has been receiving a crash course at two new positions this spring, scooping balls at first base and shagging flies in the outfield, and he believes that he could see time there in Grapefruit League games as soon as this weekend.

"There's progress," Andújar said through an interpreter on Tuesday. "I've been with the Yankees for eight, nine years, and I've been playing third base. But the results and the way I'm feeling are positive, and I feel like things are working out."

The runner-up for the 2018 American League Rookie of the Year Award, Andújar was limited to 12 big league games last season due to a right shoulder injury that eventually required surgery. He resumed hitting in late October and said that his shoulder started feeling normal sometime in December.

"He looks good to me," manager Aaron Boone said. "He's had a good winter. He's come in and he's hungry to get back out there. He loves to play the game. Just seeing him out there healthy after such a lost season, I am just kind of happy for him now and happy to see him in such a good place physically."

Andújar's injury cleared a path for Gio Urshela to take over as the everyday third baseman, and general manager Brian Cashman has said that third base is "Urshela's job to lose." Nevertheless, Andújar believes that a strong spring can cement his place on the 26-man roster and in the lineup, especially if he can showcase his new defensive versatility.

"I love having an opportunity to play and help the team," Andújar said. "At the end of the day, that's what you want to do -- you want to be able to help the team in any way possible. I'm honored to have the opportunity to be here."

Close to the vest

Throughout big league camps in Arizona and Florida, numerous big league players have taken their turn unloading their thoughts about the Astros, especially those who were affected by the 2017 sign-stealing operation. As one of the remaining members of the '17 Yankees, Brett Gardner said he has "some pretty strong feelings" on the topic, though he'd prefer to keep most to himself.

"The more we stand here and talk about it and the longer it draws on and on, I just don't think it's good for the game," Gardner said. "Hopefully we can move past it as soon as possible and focus on this season. That would be my message, especially to our guys in this room. Learn from the past, but at some point we've got to get over it and focus on the present. I think we're getting to that point."

Judge 'sick to his stomach' about Astros

Gardner said that he was "disappointed and frustrated" by the possibility that the Astros and Yankees were not on an even playing field in 2017, but he is confident that MLB will ensure all teams will be on equal footing as the '20 season approaches.

"I'm excited about the team we have and getting to work this season and beating every single team we're playing -- especially those guys, the Astros," Gardner said. "They've knocked us out of the postseason two of the last three years and hopefully this year we'll be the last team standing. That's our ultimate goal every year. The last few years have been really, really close, but we've come up a little bit short.

"I love the group of guys we have in here; a few guys missing that we're accustomed to seeing year in and year out, so that's tough. But getting Gerrit Cole over here is a pretty big addition to our pitching staff, so I'm excited to play behind him every five days, pick his brain a little bit and watch him work."

Looking ahead

J.A. Happ will likely draw the start for the Yankees' Grapefruit League opener on Saturday against the Blue Jays, Boone said, adding that Cole's spring debut would come "a few [days] after that."

Asked if Cole could be penciled in as the Yankees' probable starter on March 26 -- Opening Day against the Orioles in Baltimore -- Boone smirked and replied, "We'll see."

He said it

"If your juices aren't flowing, you probably shouldn't be here. Today is a meaningful day, an exciting Day 1 as a group for the first time. We start laying that championship foundation, and this is where it all begins." -- Boone, on the first full-squad workout

Up next

The Yankees will continue to work out as a full squad on Wednesday at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Admission is free for all workouts through Thursday. Gates will open to fans at approximately 10 a.m. ET.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and Facebook.