Yankees third baseman Miguel Andujar has decided to have season-ending surgery, after nearly six weeks of trying to rehabilitate and then to play through a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder.
Chris Ahmad, the Yankees’ head physician, will perform the surgery on Andujar, 24, on Monday at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, the team announced on Wednesday night.
“Miguel tried to give as much to the team as he could but realized that he just wasn’t physically able to deal with the pain and still be as productive as we all know he can be,” Andujar’s agent, Ulises Cabrera, said in a text message after the team’s announcement.
Andujar, the runner-up in voting for American League Rookie of the Year Award last season, originally hurt his right shoulder diving back to third base on a pickoff attempt on March 31. After he underwent a magnetic resonance imaging examination, the Yankees said that the tear was small and that Andujar’s shoulder still appeared to have substantial strength.
He received a couple of medical opinions in which surgery was not suggested, Yankees Manager Aaron Boone said earlier this week.
The injury interfered most with Andujar’s throwing, not his hitting, and the Yankees put him through a stretching and strengthening routine, plus a gradual throwing program, before he returned from the injured list on May 4.
Andujar played in nine games after he came back, mostly as the designated-hitter, while Gio Urshela, a sure-handed fielder, took over at third base. But Andujar’s performance at the plate caused concern.
Usually a stout hitter, he was 3 for 34 with no runs batted in after his return. He struck out nine times and was making weaker contact than usual. He was hitting .128 over all in 12 games this season.
On Monday the Yankees decided to place Andujar back on the I.L. and to reconsider the options.
Andujar underwent another M.R.I. exam on Monday, and the results were nearly identical to the previous one, Boone said this week. Andujar was then given a few days to discuss the next move with his family and confidantes. He told the team on Wednesday that he would have the operation. Last season, Andujar was a key hitter in the Yankees’ lineup, hitting .297 with 27 home runs and 92 runs batted in.
Cabrera commended the Yankees’ treatment of Andujar throughout the process. He said that both doctors involved in the case — Ahmad and David Altchek, who provided a second opinion — had been confident that Andujar could return to his previous form.
After struggling in the field last season — only three major league third baseman made more errors than his 15 — Andujar spent the off-season and spring training working on his fielding and throwing, which he often preferred to do from a sidearm angle rather than the traditional overhand method.
In his absence, Urshela has thrived, and over the weekend, the Yankees claimed infielder Breyvic Valera, who has played in parts of two major league seasons, off waivers from the San Francisco Giants. Valera was sent to Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he and Tyler Wade can serve as infield insurance.
On Tuesday night, the Yankees traded for Kendrys Morales, who Boone said was expected take up quite a bit of the at-bats at the designated-hitter spot. Morales, 35, was recently designated for assignment by the Oakland Athletics after hitting .204 with a .569 on-base-plus-slugging percentage.
But advanced metrics suggested that Morales was hitting the ball harder than his statistics showed. Last season with the Toronto Blue Jays, Morales hit .249 with 21 home runs and a .769 O.P.S. Morales, a switch hitter, has played in parts of 13 major league seasons, most with the Los Angeles Angels, and is a career .267 hitter with 212 home runs.
In reality, the Yankees need only to buy about another month of time for shortstop Didi Gregorius’s return. When Gregorius underwent Tommy John surgery last fall, he was targeted for a return at some point during the summer. He is on pace to return closer to the early side of that projection.
Whenever Gregorius is back, Gleyber Torres can move back to second base. D.J. LeMahieu can float around the infield, as he was expected to do before the season, or handle third base, with Urshela serving as a backup.