TAMPA — Miguel Andujar feels ready for a full-time role with the Yankees.
Whether he gets one depends on his glove — and possible future personnel decisions.
“I’ve been working very hard ever since I was a kid to get to this point,” Andujar said Monday through a translator. “You ask me that question — and to me, I feel ready.”
Andujar, who turns 23 on March 2, will be competing for the starting spot at third. His defense has been a frequent topic of conversation as he works with infield coordinator Carlos Mendoza.
“I want to be more consistent and grounded when I’m playing defense,” Andujar said.
Andujar posted an .850 OPS with 16 homers and 82 RBIs in the minors last season. He also came up and had three hits and four RBIs in his major-league debut on June 28. The team loves his offensive potential. But he also committed 17 errors in the field in the minors a season ago.
“He’s put himself in position to compete for a job and he’s made tremendous strides on both sides of the ball,” Yankees VP of baseball operations Tim Naehring said. “Once again, tremendous work ethic, and tools to be as good as he wants to be.
“We just keep working on the lower half (defensively): start at the feet and move it up. Proper angles. Working through the baseball, good mechanically techniques for securing the baseball and turning it into an out. He’s a young kid. The arrow’s pointing up.”
As for the team potentially pursuing the likes of Mike Moustakas, Neil Walker or Josh Harrison for the hot corner, Andujar replied: “That’s something that I have no control of. What I’d like to do is just focus on my job and what I need to do to prepare for this year.”
Aaron Boone, who played third himself, said he wouldn’t be too hands-on with Andujar, as he feels confident in Mendoza’s coaching abilities.
Aaron Boone addressed his full team for the first time on Monday, and preached making sure they do “the little things” in order to reach expectations.
“We want to go from a good team to being a championship-caliber team,” Boone said. “I think you do that by being good at the little things that when the game gets really hard and you’re struggling, you’re still capable of winning a ballgame.”
Boone appreciated the opportunity.
“It meant a lot to me,” the manager said. “I will say it was special to me to get to stand up there in front of guys that I already have a lot of respect for. And I feel like it was really important. It was something that I won’t forget.”
Boone on Gary Sanchez: “Gary rakes. That’s what I think. He’s special. He gets in that box, and yeah I do think he gets overlooked. It was evident. And I can’t wait to see what he’s going to do again this year.”
Stanton on joining the Yankees: “You’ve got All-Stars all over the place, future All-Stars, future MVPs. It’s a great clubhouse, a great group of guys. I’m just here to mesh with them.”