Andujar has not publicly complained of any pain, but his performance at the plate has caused concern. He had said that the injury manifested itself most when he threw, not hit, so the Yankees put him through a stretching and strengthening routine, plus a gradual throwing program, before he returned from the first I.L. stint on May 4.
With the emergence of Gio Urshela, a sure-handed third baseman, the Yankees were able to use Andujar primarily as a designated hitter. But Andujar, usually a stout hitter, went 3 for 34 with no runs batted in, nine strikeouts and weaker contact than normal. After internal discussions, the Yankees decided to give Andujar another break.
“He’s such a tough player that he’s able to deal with stuff,” Boone said. “But I do think it takes him longer to get ready each and every day.”
The Yankees’ medical staff has been busy this season — and that was before Andujar and Loaisiga joined the wounded on Monday. Loaisiga, who felt discomfort in his shoulder after a bullpen session this weekend, had been filling in for James Paxton, who has been out since May 4 with left knee inflammation. The Yankees don’t need a fifth starting pitcher until May 21, and Paxton might be ready to return by then.
At least one thing was certain on Monday night: Hicks had fully recovered from the back injury that was originally supposed to keep him out only a few days during spring training but lasted over two months.
Boone has often referred to Hicks, 29, as one of the most underrated players in baseball — a strong defender who can smash home runs, draw walks and hit from both sides of the plate.
Boone said part of the reason for Hicks’s long rehabilitation was the Yankees’ desire to make sure his body was conditioned and built back up properly.
Since dealing with what he said doctors termed chronic back pain, Hicks has added a new workout routine that he said helps his core and hips, and thus his back. “When I do my core exercises, my back feels good,” he said.