Yankees promote Miguel Andujar to roster with Aaron Hicks

NEW YORK — Miguel Andujar arrived at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday, but it could be a very short stay.

Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks has been placed on paternity leave and will “likely” be out until Friday in Kansas City.

“But we’ll see,” said manager Aaron Boone, who didn’t speak directly to Hicks before Tuesday’s three-game series opener against Baltimore.

Hicks and his fiancée Cheyenne Woods, a professional golfer and niece of Tiger Woods, were expecting their first child.

And once Hicks returns, Andujar plans to return to class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he starts fast but faces a familiar challenge.

With no pressing need for his services on the Yanks’ active roster, Andujar remains in that cold category of organizational depth, with a subpar defensive reputation and a long injury history.

A hot start

It’s been four years since his breakout, the 2018 season — AL Rookie of the Year runner-up behind Shohei Ohtani — with a .297 batting average, 47 doubles, 27 home runs and 92 RBIs.

Since then, shoulder surgery and various physical issues have contributed to his limited presence, appearing in 78 major league games with a .228 average, seven home runs and 18 RBIs.

“If I’m healthy and given the chance, I feel like I can… have a season similar to ’18’,” Andujar said through the coach’s interpretation of third baseman Luis Rojas.

That chance might only come with another organization, and the right-handed hitter’s market value needs to be rebuilt.

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So far, “I feel really good, I’ve worked really hard in the cage,” Andujar said, cutting .347/.396/.551 in his first 13 games at Scranton/Wilkes-Barrre, with three homers as a left fielder and third baseman.

Boone could also play Andujar at first base if needed, but his potential as a hitter off the bench is what matters most.

“He could play a key role for us in the next few days,” Boone said.

Stuck in Scranton

May 31, 2021;  Bronx, New York, USA;  New York Yankees third baseman Miguel Andujar (41) celebrates his home run with second baseman Rougned Odor (18) during the seventh inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta - USA TODAY Sports

Andujar could look more extended as a left fielder if Joey Gallo’s tough April stretches into May.

But once the Yanks depart Thursday night for Kansas City, Andujar could head to Scranton.

“It’s always difficult,” Andujar said of his return to the minors. “And I feel like I did a really good job in spring training.

“But I realize that I can only control what I can control,” and right now, “I’m here to help the team win.”

At plate, Andujar said he adopted a more pronounced left kick and was able to carry the good rhythm of his batting practices into games.

Upon entering camp, Boone felt that Hicks was “in the best place he’s been in the last two years,” as far as physical fitness and mental approach go.

“The last two years dealing with different injuries and not having consistent opportunities here…has taken a toll on him and has been frustrating and difficult at times,” Boone said.

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Still, “we were really happy with what we saw in spring training,” Boone said of Andujar’s play in camp.

“He wore that at the start of the season and certainly deserved that opportunity.”

The Yankees Letter

February 24, 2021;  Tampa, Florida, USA;  New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman looks on during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field.  Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement - USA TODAY Sports

There were no explosive revelations in MLB commissioner Rob Manfred’s 2017 letter to the Yankees regarding allegations of sign theft between the Yanks and the Boston Red Sox.

As first reported by SNY’s Andy Martino, the new information included Manfred’s specific $100,000 fine against the Yankees for illegal use of a dugout phone.

And that the dugout’s phone was used to relay sign flight information from the Yankee Stadium replay room, back to the players in real time.

The Red Sox were found to have used a “smart watch” in their dugout for a similar purpose against the Yankees. Boston’s claim that the Yankees used YES Network cameras to steal signs was proven to be baseless after MLB’s investigation.

Last week, the Yankees failed in a legal challenge to keep the letter unsealed. The letter had been evidence in a since-dismissed lawsuit against MLB filed by daily fantasy website players.

The Yankees were found not to have violated any of the strictest restrictions on illegal methods of electronic sign theft put in place by Manfred in September 2017.

Pete Caldera is the author of Yankees beats for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to all Yankees analysis, news, transactions and more, please sign up today and download our app.

Email: [email protected]: @pcaldera

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