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Andujar has belted three homers in his last five games, showcasing the power that got him that honor a few years back. And while he’s still getting used to playing the outfield, the Yankees have used him at third base and first base as well, proving he can be a versatile asset for the pinstripes.
Andujar spoke to New York media before the Yanks’ series finale against the Boston Red Sox to say that consistent playing time is why he feels confident at the dish.
“Physically and mentally, I feel very good and that’s been great,” he said via an interpreter. “Right now, I’m getting more of an opportunity to play on a daily basis, and I believe in myself. I think that if I keep playing and keep doing the work I need to do, then I should be able to keep getting the results I’m getting. For me, it’s a matter of playing and repetition out there.”
The same goes for Andujar’s reps in the outfield, as a prime example of needing more time to adjust to the position came in Saturday’s 7-3 loss. Andujar thought a ball was going to leave the yard in left field as he was backing up on a fly ball from Xander Bogaerts. But the ball dropped in play for a double, one that had a 95 percent catch probability, per StatCast.
That play and another hit by Rafael Devers led to the Red Sox’ surge in the sixth that gave them the lead.
“For a moment there, I thought it was going to leave the park,” he said. “As I’m running the play, I tried to get close to the wall. I tried jumping to catch it. Of course, you saw how that play developed. That’s one of those things [where] the more reps out there, the more you’re going to get better and familiar with that place near the wall, especially in left field.”
Andujar added that plays near the wall have been the toughest thing about learning the position, but he thinks more practice will have him get more in tune with how to play those hits.
But while this may be a transitioning period for Andujar, more consistent at-bats seems to be showing fans glimpses of the old helicopter-swinging player that was a tough out from the past. Now that the opportunity has presented itself, Andujar is trying to cash in and make it hard for the Yanks to take him out of the lineup when it is time for players to return.
“At the beginning, things weren’t working out the way I wanted,” Andujar said. “I started getting more playing time and therefore more consistent at-bats. I think that’s really it.”