The reasons the Yankees are trying to build Drury’s ‘versatility’

The reasons the Yankees are trying to build Drury’s ‘versatility’

Miguel Andujar is among the better third baseman in baseball, so there is no need for Brandon Drury at the position where he started the season for the Yankees.

Nevertheless, the club isn’t satisfied to see a player stuck in the minors who many in the organization believed was going to develop into a contributor in the majors when acquired from the Diamondbacks early in spring training.

Along with Gleyber Torres, Andujar has quickly developed into an All-Star candidate, so now the Yankees are exploring other avenues to get Drury back to the big leagues to strengthen a bench for Aaron Boone, who craves players who can handle multiple positions.

“We are getting him reps at first and kicking around second [base] as we build versatility,’’ general manager Brian Cashman said at a Hope Week event at P.S. 73, a few blocks north of Yankee Stadium, early Wednesday afternoon before the Yankees hosted the Nationals in the finale of a two-game series. “Obviously, what Andujar has done at third base, we will see if we can create a path to get [Drury] back here if there is an injury at third or on the versatility side of it.’’

Drury started at first base for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Monday night for the first time this year. His big league experience at the position consists of one inning with the Diamondbacks. He has played 136 games at second and 48 at third in the majors. Drury also has appeared in 89 games in the outfield.

After acquiring Drury from Arizona on Feb. 20, the Yankees were willing to allow the 23-year-old Andujar, who had seven big league at-bats (all in 2017), to finish his development at Triple-A. But when Drury landed on the disabled list on April 7 after eight games due to migraine headaches and blurry vision, Andujar was summoned.

Following a minor league rehab assignment and with Andujar turning into an extra-base hitting machine and displaying improved work with the glove and throwing accuracy, Drury was optioned to Triple-A on May 15.

Even with second base experience, the 25-year-old Drury isn’t going to take playing time away from the 21-year-old Torres, who has excelled at the plate and in the field since being promoted on April 22. Entering Wednesday night’s game, Torres was hitting .297 with 11 homers, 29 at-bats and .910 OPS in 43 games.

By moving Drury around the infield, another possibility is the Yankees could be showcasing him for teams with pitching help before the July 31 trade deadline.

By himself, Drury wouldn’t bring back a front-end starter such as Cole Hamels or J.A. Happ, but would be valuable as part of a package with others.

Added versatility to the big league roster with Drury likely would cost Tyler Austin his roster spot because first base is the right-handed hitter’s only position, though he has dabbled in the outfield in the minor leagues. Backup infielder Ronald Torreyes could be a victim but he plays short, a position not suited for Drury.

And don’t ignore the fact the Yankees believe they gave up solid prospects in Taylor Widener, a right-handed pitcher, and infielder Nick Solak to get Drury, when the industry suggested the Yankees didn’t part with much in the three-team deal that included Tampa Bay.

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