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Miguel Andujar Making Most of Latest Opportunity With Pirates



Pittsburgh Pirates, Miguel Andujar

PITTSBURGH — Miguel Andujar’s career path has not been what you would expect from a 2018 American League Rookie of the Year runner-up.

That year in ’18, Andujar was second in the voting behind Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani. In 149 games with the Yankees that season, the then-23-year-old Andujar hit .297 with an OPS of .855, 47 doubles, 27 home runs and 92 RBIs.

Surely his performance in his first full season as a big league would cement his position on the Yankees for years to come, right? Wrong.

Injuries and inconsistent performance held Andujar to only 141 games in pinstripes from 2019-22, and it was towards the end of last season that the Yankees designated Andujar for assignment.

The Pirates pounced on the chance to claim him off waivers and Andujar finished last season with the team, appearing in nine games before the end of the season.

After being removed from the 40-man roster in the offseason, Andujar again got an opportunity early on in the season this year but wasn’t able to do much with it.

After being sent back to Triple-A Indianapolis, Andujar tore up the Triple-A competition and returned to the Pirates as a September call-up.

Since he was brought back up to Pittsburgh, Andujar has been performing at a high level at the plate.

He capped off his hot stretch with a solo homer off the right field foul pole against his former team in the Pirates’ 3-2 win over the Yankees on Sunday afternoon.

Since he was brought back up, Andujar is hitting .333/.371/.606 with three doubles, two home runs and seven RBIs in 10 games.

He’s helped soften the blow at designated hitter in wake of Andrew McCutchen’s season-ending injury and looked pretty good in right field in the win on Sunday.

“He takes aggressive swings,” manager Derek Shelton said after Sunday’s game. “You don’t see a right-handed hitter hit the foul pole very much on the right-field side. I mean, that ball stayed true. He hits the ball hard. He had a really good year in Triple-A and he’s done a nice job defensively out there, today (handled) four or five balls. But, he takes really good, aggressive swings.”

With the home run, Andujar extended his hitting streak to six games, and he has at least a hit in eight of his last nine contests.

It’s interesting. The only time in his career that Andujar received consistent playing time was his career-year in 2018.

Though the sample size is obviously small, Andujar is so far making the most of a more-regular opportunity with the Pirates.

I remember talking with a professional scout who said he felt that they key for Andujar has always been getting consistent at-bats.

After 2018 with the Yankees, he never got that chance. The Pirates, at least for the current month, have been able to offer a little bit of that.

He’s also starting an interesting conversation about the future. The more he’s been on the field, the more he’s made a case for a roster spot in 2024, though that is still quite a ways away.

This offseason, Andujar will be arbitration-eligible for the second time in his career, and he’s due for a modest raise from his $1.53 million salary for 2023.

Whether Andujar will have a spot on the Pirates’ roster come next season’s opening day roster is impossible to predict at this current juncture.

But he’s certainly made the most of his opportunity as a September call-up with the Pirates this year.

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