May 15, 2019|4:39am
The Yankees have lived without the version of Miguel Andujar they came to depend upon a year ago, as the third baseman has been unable to produce since returning from a torn labrum.
They soon may be without him at all the rest of the season.
Andujar underwent another MRI exam on his right shoulder which was “about identical” to the one following his original injury, manager Aaron Boone said on Tuesday.
“The small labrum tear is still there, it hasn’t changed at all,’’ Boone said before the Yankees’ game against the Orioles in The Bronx was postponed by rain. “The rest of the shoulder is pretty good and stable. I think over the next 24 hours, he’s gonna have those conversations with his family and with us to figure out the best course of action: whether to go down the road of surgery or whether to continue to rehab. These will be the decisions made over the next 24 hours.”
Boone added that a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection is not an option for the 24-year-old Andujar — who was just 3-for-34 with no extra-base hits, one walk and nine strikeouts in nine games since coming off the injured list for the first time. Never a strong fielder, Andujar didn’t look good in limited action at third. He was put back on the 10-day IL on Monday, and there’s no telling when he might return.
Boone acknowledged surgery would “probably” end Andujar’s season, and Dr. Steven Struhl, orthopedic surgeon at NYU Medical Center, Hospital for Joint Diseases, said recovery could take 6-12 months.
“There’s no harm in rehabbing more, but you’re pushing back his return if you wind up performing surgery,” Struhl said. “Surgery is the most reliable option. With an elite athlete, there’s at least a 75-80 percent chance he comes back to his previous level, and I believe he will. The fact he’s young is a good thing.”
But it would still leave the Yankees without one of their most consistent bats from a year ago. Andujar finished runner-up for AL Rookie of the Year last season. Only Giancarlo Stanton finished with more homers and RBIs for the Yankees, and just Aaron Judge had a higher OPS and OPS-plus.
“Miguel is a really good player,’’ Boone said. “I’m sure a lot of [his struggles] are related to the shoulder. Taking a good player out of the mix is a blow. We certainly feel like we can absorb it.”
Gio Urshela will be thrust into an even more important role, and he has done well so far.
“Gio has stepped up in a huge way for us,’’ Boone said. “To lose Miguel Andujar and his production would be a blow that we’d have to deal with.”
Urshela, 27, has been solid since being recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on April 6. Always an above-average defender, Urshela has been excellent offensively. In his past 16 games, Urshela is 19-for-48 with five doubles and two homers — and delivered several clutch hits along the way.
Despite the increased likelihood Andujar will have to go under the knife, Boone said he hadn’t resigned himself to that being the case.
“Not yet,” the manager said. “Out of respect to [Andujar], I want him to be able to work through this. I just want him to feel good about whatever decision he makes.”