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Yankees’ Andujar responds to Cashman criticism in big way

Yankees' Andujar responds to Cashman criticism in big way

If Gary Sanchez can rediscover his talent when all seemed lost, maybe Clint Frazier and Miguel Andujar can, too.

At least that is representative of Yankees general manager Brian Cashman’s thinking Tuesday — even before Andujar answered the call with three hits, including a home run, in a 11-5 win against the Angels.

While acknowledging “our production in left field has been a problem,” Cashman is not on the cusp of turning to Trey Amburgey, Estevan Florial or Hoy Jun Park from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre as a solution to the gaping hole in the Yankees’ lineup.

“We’ve had conversations like that … but we didn’t pull anything yet from Triple-A because we feel like this is our best troop right now,” Cashman said after batting practice. “Whether it’s good enough or not — and I am searching outside — we’ll let those others play out down there.”

Andujar certainly agrees with that assessment.

“Looking at the team we have, it was just a matter of time for us to get it going,” Andujar said through a translator. “I’ve never had any doubt of my teammates and our [capability].”

The quintet of Frazier (33 games), Andujar (32), Brett Gardner (18), the traded Mike Tauchman (five) and Tyler Wade (one) gave the Yankees the American League’s third-worst OPS (.644) in left field through 78 games. Andujar’s home run and double still leave the Yankees tied for an AL-worst 18 extra-base hits generated by the position.

Miguel Andujar
Miguel Andujar
Corey Sipkin

“I don’t feel like right now I have definitive, obvious upgrades that I can promote from within. That’s why I haven’t done it,” Cashman said. “Obviously the players here are on notice that they have to get better or there are going to be changes that are going to come regardless.”

The defensively challenged Andujar — who committed an error Tuesday and almost turned another single into a double with a circuitous route and lax effort in the outfield — is getting increased opportunity because Frazier is hitting .154 with runners in scoring position and two outs.

“The walk is in there and the non-chase [outside the strike zone] is in there, but with that sometimes there has been a lack of aggression in the strike zone,” manager Aaron Boone said. “The lack of squaring up some pitches that in the past he has certainly driven with authority. There has been a little bit less of that.”

It sounds a little like the conversation a month ago surrounding Sanchez, though Frazier doesn’t have the high-end track record Sanchez had before his multiyear regression. Sanchez adjusted his swing and has re-emerged as MLB’s premier slugging catcher, adding another home run against the Angels.

“Sanchez is now an All-Star-caliber player again,” Cashman said.

Sending Frazier and/or Andujar back to Triple-A to call up Amburgey, Florial or Park could be seen as a harmless swap that sends a message to the clubhouse with a low-risk downside. Can the production be worse? Cashman isn’t ready to find out.

“There is no cavalry sitting at Triple-A to say, ‘Take this person out and pull this person in,’ ” Cashman said. “We have better than what has performed as a group, but it hasn’t done it yet.”

Cashman described the hot-hitting Amburgey as “a bigger threat against left-handed pitching than he is against right-handed pitching,” which sums up almost the entire Yankees lineup. Park leads Triple-A with a 1.134 OPS as he is hitting .360 with seven home runs, 33 runs scored and 23 RBIs, but “there is no place to play him here right now” because the Yankees consider him a second baseman despite a recent experiment in the outfield.

So, the status quo remains. For now.

“I think [Frazier] has been frustrated at times,” Boone said. “He has worked his tail off through it all. We absolutely believe in his talent. It’s on me — it’s on us—– to, as best as we can, try to unlock him.”

About the author

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Janice Tilson

Janice has been phenomenal in the success of Stock Market Pioneer. She is the super dedicated types, always glued to her computer. She talks less, but when it comes to work, she is behind none. She is a tech geek and contributes to the technology section of Stock Market Pioneer.

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