While Brandon Drury is inching closer to returning, rookie Miguel Andujar is giving first-year manager Aaron Boone something to think about when making up lineup cards and deciding who plays third base for the New York Yankees.
Andujar began the season 3-for-28, but he is hitting .316 after homering and getting at least two hits for the sixth time in seven games in a series-opening 14-1 rout of the Minnesota Twins on Monday night. In those games, he is batting .517 (15-for-29) with three homers, eight runs scored, eight RBIs and 10 extra-base hits.
Andujar looks to continue his run of productive at-bats for the Yankees on Tuesday in the second game of a four-game series against the Twins at Yankee Stadium.
“He’s a really gifted hitter,” Boone said of Andujar, who hit his third homer and doubled Monday. “He’s gotten comfortable and now we’re seeing what a gifted hitter can do.”
Andujar is among four players in the last 20 years to get an extra-base hit in seven straight games. The others are Cody Bellinger, Corey Seager, Freddie Freeman and Albert Pujols.
“The guy can hit, hit for power, hit to all fields, and it’s fun to watch,” Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge said.
Drury was acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks in spring training to give the Yankees a little more experience than Andujar. He went 5-for-23 before being sidelined with migraine headaches and blurred vision on April 7.
Drury is slated to begin a rehab assignment Wednesday with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Until then, they’ll continue to be intrigued by Andujar, who hit a home run clocked at 110 mph off the bat on Monday.
“Obviously, guys are making progress from the injury front,” Boone said before Andujar’s latest productive game. “The more talented guys that we can have in the mix, I look forward to those options. Because a couple of weeks ago, we were struggling just to get a team out there on a couple of those nights.”
Andujar was hardly the only productive Yankees player on a night when they set a season high for runs. Giancarlo Stanton’s batting average went from .185 to .224 after he homered and went 4-for-4 with a walk.
The Twins (8-9) are on a four-game losing streak and below .500 for the second time this season. During the skid, they are getting outscored 40-15 while pitching to a 10.43 ERA.
Minnesota’s bullpen particularly has struggled. During the last four games, it has allowed 23 earned runs in 13 1/3 innings for a 15.53 ERA.
The lone positive from the series opener was Brian Dozier running his hitting streak to 17 games with an RBI single. Going back to Sept. 22, he is hitting .373 (38-for-102) during a 24-game hitting streak.
After Masahiro Tanaka pitched 6 2/3 effective innings, the Yankees hope to get the same from CC Sabathia in his second start since coming off the disabled list with a hip injury. Sabathia returned Thursday and allowed two unearned runs and four hits in 4 1/3 innings during a 4-3 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.
Sabathia is 19-9 with a 3.16 ERA in 38 career starts against Minnesota. If he gets the win, the Twins would be the third team he has at least 20 career wins against (also Detroit and Kansas City)
The left-hander is 12-2 with a 2.48 ERA in his last 17 starts against the Twins since the start of the 2007 season and 7-1 in 11 starts against them as a Yankees pitcher.
Jose Berrios will attempt to get his 20th career victory in his first appearance against the Yankees since allowing three runs and five hits in three innings during a relief outing in Minnesota’s 8-4 loss in the wild-card game.
Berrios is 2-1 with a 1.63 ERA so far after winning 14 games last season. He last pitched in Puerto Rico on Wednesday when he allowed three hits in seven scoreless innings during a 2-1 win over the Cleveland Indians in 15 innings.
“He’s gotten off to a very good start,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said before Monday’s game. “He’s throwing better than I’ve ever seen him.”
Berrios enters with a scoreless streak of 14 innings and has issued one walk to his first 99 hitters faced.
Including the wild-card game when he took the loss, Berrios is 1-2 with a 4.84 ERA in four appearances (two starts).
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