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Is this the beginning of the end for Miguel Andujar in pinstripes?

On Sunday, it was reported that Miguel Andujar has been dealing with soreness in his wrist/hand, and he was being sent to a hand specialist. Andujar felt the soreness as far back as winter ball, before experiencing it again in spring camp. The news not only puts the beginning of his 2021 season in jeopardy but could be the beginning of the end for his Yankees career depending on the severity.

Andujar’s 2018 feels more and more like a distant memory. He exploded on the scene and almost won the AL Rookie of the Year award, but committed 15 errors at third base. Now, injuries and inconsistent play have limited him to just 33 games since that season. Without a position, injury issues and lack of defensive ability, Andujar’s time with the Yankees may be coming to an end.

2019

The Yankees had hoped that Andujar would lock down the hot corner in 2019 and they penciled him in as a middle of the order bat. However, Andujar would start the season on the disabled list due to a shoulder strain. After trying to rehab the injury, Andujar returned and went 3 for 34 before opting for season-ending shoulder surgery. Five days after Andujar first went on the IL, the Yankees selected the contract of Gio Urshela hoping he could serve as a place holder while Andujar rehabbed. Instead, Urshela hit .352 in 71 at-bats and locked down the position. With Andujar out for the season, Urshela hit .314 while playing stellar defense.

2020

Last year, Andujar found himself competing for playing time while trying to learn first base and left field. Andujar made the roster on opening day but a 1-14 start pushed him to the alternative site. For the year, Andujar hit .242 while committing 4 errors in only 13 games. Meanwhile, Urshela had another standout year, in which he led all third basemen in fielding percentage, to further lock down the position.

As a result, the Yankees had hoped to transition Andujar to either first or left. Instead, Luke Voit showed his 2019 wasn’t a fluke and led baseball in home runs. Meanwhile, Clint Frazier re-established himself as a top young talent and was nominated for a Gold Glove award.

2021 and the Future

Andujar entered Spring Training with a chance to win a bench spot with the Yankees. However, he has recorded only 2 hits in 15 at-bats and has seen his stock drop. With minor-league options remaining, Andujar was likely headed to the minors but now his wrist/hand injury further complicates his future.

It is looking increasingly unlikely for Andujar to crack the Yankees roster as he has fallen behind Urshela, Voit, and Frazier. His defensive limitations makes finding a permanent home in the field difficult. And without his fearsome bat, Andujar is a shell of his former self. Without a clear path to the majors in New York, it may be time to move the former slugger and give him a chance to start fresh somewhere else.

Sadly, like the month of March, Andujar came in like a lion but is going out like a lamb.