Miguel Andujar's season is over. The third baseman decided to have surgery to repair his torn labrum in his right shoulder, the team announced during Wednesday night's game. He will have the surgery on Monday and "he is not expected to return this season," according to the Yankees.
Andujar, who was not in the clubhouse before Wednesday's doubleheader against the Orioles at Yankee Stadium, was initially diagnosed with a partially torn labrum in his right shoulder.
Then, Andujar said that doctors, noting strength in the shoulder, said he could rehab the shoulder and return this year. Season-ending surgery, however, was always a very real possibility.
That possibility seemed even more likely Wednesday morning after the Yankees acquired Kendrys Morales from the A's. Yankee manager Aaron Boone said they expected Morales to get at-bats as the designated hitter, the role Andujar had been relegated to since returning from the injured list.
He went 3 for 34 with nine strikeouts in the nine games he played since returning. He has "barreled," or squared up and hit hard, zero balls this season. His average exit velocity on hits is down from 89.2 miles per hour last season to 83.6 this year.
Dr. John Kelly, the director of Sports Shoulder at Penn Medicine, who is an advocate for rehabilitation, said Monday night that it looks like to him that Andujar needs the season-ending surgery.
"Bat speed requires two stable shoulders," Dr. Kelly said. "Instability can inhibit a full swing."
Dr. Kelly said he thinks the Yankees handled this situation smartly. He advocates for patience to try to avoid major surgery through rehab and building strength, but it is also smart to know when to say you've seen enough.
And the Yankees have seen enough.
The surgery "simply anchors the torn labrum to the bony socket of the shoulder, called the glenoid," he explained.
As simple as the surgery is, it takes five to six months to recover fully.
"That's with sling immobilization for four weeks, light tossing at 12 weeks and sports-related drills after 16 weeks," Dr. Kelly said.
At the time of his initial diagnosis, April 1, losing Andujar seemed like a huge hurdle for the Yankees to overcome. That, however, was a dozen players to the injured list ago.
This is the new normal and the Yankees had already shoved Andujar into the designated hitter spot, because they have a more than able replacement.
Gio Urshela has made his glove necessary at third base and his bat significant in the lineup. In 33 games, Urshela has 15 RBIs and is hitting .330/.354/.489.
"I mean Miggy's a really good player. Obviously this year the struggles, I am sure a lot of it is related to the shoulder. Yeah, that's taken a good player out of the mix, it is a blow. We certainly feel like we've been absorbing," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "Gio obviously stepped up in a huge way for us. But, to lose Miguel Andujar and his production would be a blow that we have to deal with."