TAMPA — Miguel Andujar is becoming a man of many gloves and positions.
That’s fine with him. Anything to get more at-bats.
In spring training, not all the key action takes place in games. One important ingredient to the Yankees’ ultimate success this season was taking place Monday on a back field located behind George M. Steinbrenner Field.
There Andujar began the morning taking fly balls in right field.
Then, after a long round of batting practice, it was time to switch to an infielder’s glove and grab ground balls at third, the position where he played 136 games in 2018. He also worked with DJ LeMahieu on slow rollers at third.
The relentless LeMahieu is the Yankees second baseman, but continues to keep his third-base skills sharp. He proved to be a good workout buddy for Andujar as well.
Then it was time for another glove change, this time a first baseman’s mitt, and Andujar put in extensive work at first base.
He took ground balls, throws from across the diamond and then it was time to place a coach about 6 feet off the bag at second base. The coach repeatedly fired short, one-hop throws to first base that Andujar had to scoop out of the dirt, first open-palm scoops and then using the back hand.
Don’t forget, with Giancarlo Stanton down with a right calf injury, Andujar could easily slide into the DH role as well, but he was doing all this work to make himself more valuable to the Yankees. This appears to be a year of roaming charges for Andujar, with Gio Urshela coming off his breakout season at third base.
One thing is clear, the bat plays and Andujar is doing whatever it takes to get in the lineup.
“I love the fact that he has made the commitment to play different positions,’’ Willie Randolph told The Post. Randolph, a six-time All-Star during his 18 major league seasons, works diligently as a coach every spring training for the Yankees. “I’m really surprised how well he looks in the outfield. Sometimes you look at a guy and they look like a fish out of water but with him, it seems like he is blending in really nicely and he has gotten some good jumps.
“It’s just smart that he is doing all this because the way the game is played these days it’s just smart to be versatile. You want to be able to make the routine play and let everything else happen on its own. The fact that he has not fought against it and has embraced it, that is not easy for kids to do.’’
Andujar has taken it all to heart, saying, “After all those years at third base I feel great in the outfield. The biggest thing for me is that I try to help my team in whatever position they need me to play. The coaches here have helped me a lot.’’
Andujar owns 78 extra-base hits through his first 166 games, fourth-most in Yankees history over that span behind Joe DiMaggio (102), Bob Meusel (83) and Gary Sanchez (81).
With Aaron Judge out an extended period of time with a fractured top right rib, Andujar is getting time in the outfield. Brett Gardner is in center, Clint Frazier figures to be in right and Mike Tauchman in left, but there are going to be days Gardner rests and Tauchman plays center field. Frazier can play left as well.
“I’m a team player and I enjoy the opportunity the team gives me now to learn a new position,’’ Andujar said. “I try to help the team on defense. I try to help the team on offense.’’
The Yankees are fortunate to have a player of Andujar’s caliber and makeup in the wings. Anywhere else he would be an everyday starter, a building block. He just turned 25. Andujar also could be in the center of trade talks as the season develops, but right now the Yankees need him more than ever, no matter what glove he is wearing.