Yankees' Miguel Andujar makes 2 errors Sunday, DH's Monday: Here's whyAugust 7, 2018
CHICAGO — The reason Neil Walker played third base for the Yankees on Monday night wasn’t a next-day punishment for rookie starter Miguel Andujar, who was the designated hitter for a series-opening 7-0 win over the Chicago White Sox.
That’s what manager Aaron Boone claims.
This decision by Boone to keep Andujar off third for a night wasn’t even meant to send a subtle message to the 23-year-old Dominican, whose recent defensive struggles bottomed out Sunday night when they directly cost the Yankees a win Sunday night in Boston.
According to Boone, this decision to start Walker at third wasn’t done to give Andujar a night to clear his head while the Yankees were in the field, either.
“I think there’s two schools of thoughts there,” Boone said of Andujar, who was 0-for-3 with a walk, two strikeouts and run scored in Monday’s win. “Miguel I feel is equipped to deal with the successes and failures that you inevitably have here (in the major leagues), so I don’t worry about putting him back out there. And that’s not why he’s not in there.”
“I had planned on probably starting Walker at third the first game of this series as I try to kind of in different ways give a regular a day off,” Boone said. “Sometimes I try and sneak guys through the DH spot a time or two a week, which I’ve done with Miggy a little bit.
“So I think in the end Miggy, I have no issue with throwing him back out there and worrying about him having mental issues with dealing the failures and successes that are inevitable.”
There was a big failure Sunday night at Fenway Park when Andujar’s second error of the game allowed the Red Sox to score the tying run with two outs in the ninth.
The Yankees went into the ninth leading 4-1 and wound up losing 5-4 in 10 to the Red Sox, who swept the four-game series to stretch their lead in the AL East to 9 1/2 games.
With the second-place Yankees one out away from winning, Andujar backed up on a ground ball hit by Xander Bogaerts, then made a throw in the dirt to first. When stretching first baseman Greg Bird couldn’t come up with a short-hop, Jackie Bradley Jr., raced from second to home to tie the game.
Andujar also booted a ground ball in the fifth inning, and these two errors ran his season total to 10, six of them coming in his last 26 games at third.
These miscues have his fielding percentage down to .947, which ranks second-worst among AL starting third basemen.
Boone thinks Andujar has played better than his numbers indicate.
“Yeah I do, and I think that he’s made a lot of strides this year defensively,” the manager said. “I think he’s played an acceptable third base out there, no question.”
Acceptable was an interesting word choice from Boone, who almost always speaks about his players in a very positive light and often goes overboard with his younger ones.
“I think that he’s worked really hard and I think he’s got a long way to go where he can continue to even get better,” Boone added. “We’re all a part of that in helping him get to that point to where he’s a really good defender out there, but I think that he’s surpassed expectations of maybe even of what we had going into the winter and certainly going into the season.”