Yankees: Where does Brandon Drury fit in when he returns?
With Brandon Drury close to returning from the DL the Yankees suddenly have a logjam at third base. Miguel Andujar has been excellent in his absence, but Drury wasn’t acquired this past offseason to sit the bench.
When the Yankees acquired Drury in the offseason the expectation was that he would be their starting third basemen. Andujar was sent down out of spring training while Drury was brought in from Arizona with the thinking that he could have a breakout season if given the opportunity to play every day.
Drury got off to a decent start with the Yanks until he started experiencing migraines and blurred vision. It turns out this was something he’s dealt with throughout his career so the Yankees decided to place him on the DL so they could figure out the cause of his issues. Fortunately, the Yankees found the cause of his problems and since than Drury has been feeling much better and he could return to the big league club any day now.
In his two rehab games with Triple-A Scranton Drury has looked ready to go, batting 4-7 with an RBI. Which brings up the question I’m sure Yankees fans would love to know the answer to. Will Drury reclaim his starting job at third base when he returns?
Personally, I think it would be very hard for manager Aaron Boone to somehow justify removing the rookie Andujar from the lineup in favor of the returning Drury. Andujar has been outstanding since being inserted at third and he hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down. He looks like a star in the making at the plate and the guy who can be the Yankees starting third baseman for the next decade.
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Friday night he picked up another extra-base hit with a huge ninth-inning double which led to the tying run scoring in the Yankees thrilling 4-3 win in 10 innings. It was his 15th extra-base hit in only 18 games and his 11th double which is tied for the major league lead.
One of the concerns about Andujar coming into the season was his defense at third. If his defense was a major issue that would give reason to re-insert Drury back into the fold, but that hasn’t been the case at all.
Sure he’s still got room to improve, but let’s remember he’s only 23 years old and the more experience he gets the better all-around player he will become.
Decision time for Aaron Boone
When Boone was asked about his upcoming decision regarding third base he stressed that he won’t make a decision until Drury is fully healthy and ready to return.
Per Randy Miller of NJ.com:
"“We feel like we’re sitting there with two major league starting players and we’ll have to make decisions as the days unfold, but we’re not quite there, too.”"
It’s tough to gauge which direction Boone will go based on his words, but the fact that he won’t announce a decision has to be a positive for Andujar.
One direction they could go in is using Drury in a super utility role all over the infield. Before he came to the Yankees he spent time playing all over the field with the Diamondbacks at third, second and even left field. All of those positions are occupied in the Yankees lineup at the moment, but those are spots Drury could play in the case of an injury or if Boone wants to give somebody a day off.
Unfortunately for Drury, the reality is that once he returns he’s going to be spending more time on the bench than in the starting lineup. It sucks that something out of his control forced him to miss some games along with his hold on the starting job at third, but Andujar deserves to be the everyday guy for the time being.
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You can bet that Andujar will be monitored closely in all facets of his game in the coming weeks, but he would have to struggle mightily for Drury to regain the everyday job.