NEW YORK — About a half-hour before Monday night’s first pitch, the New York Yankees announced that Miguel Andujar had joined the ever-growing list of pinstriped players on the injured list.
If this was an April Fool’s joke, no one was laughing.
Initially diagnosed with a right shoulder strain, the Yankees third baseman was placed on the 10-day injury list. Versatile, lefty-hitting Tyler Wade was recalled from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone told reporters after the game that Andujar suffered a small labrum tear, which could result in surgery, any of which would be season-ending. He will be re-evaluated after a couple of weeks of rest.
Andujar enjoyed a successful spring training, slashing .347/.373/.469 in 51 Grapefruit League plate appearances. He was off to a 3-for-13 start with no extra-base hits in the Yankees’ first three games. He went 1-for-5 in Sunday’s 7-5 loss to Baltimore.
During Sunday’s fourth inning, Andujar apparently injured himself diving back into third base. He made contact but went hitless in three subsequent at-bats.
Earlier on Monday, the Yankees placed slugger Giancarlo Stanton on the 10-day IL with a strained left biceps, with the hopes of getting him back by month’s end.
Center fielder Aaron Hicks (strained lower back) has yet to begin baseball activity at Tampa, Fla., where right-handers Dellin Betances (right shoulder impingement) and Luis Severino (right shoulder inflammation) are working their way back.
Didi Gregorius is recovering from Tommy John surgery and isn’t due back until sometime in June at the earliest.
CC Sabathia has been delayed by an offseason heart procedure and a five-game MLB suspension stemming from last season.
Wade seemed a lock to make the Yankees’ opening day roster, batting .308 with seven doubles and a home run in 52 at-bats and playing well at third base and second base and adequately in the outfield.
But Hicks’ injury created a need for a natural center fielder (Wade would have opened the season as the Yanks’ fourth outfielder), so general manager Brian Cashman traded minor league lefty Phillip Diehl to Colorado for outfielder Mike Tauchman.
Wade didn’t hide his anger and disappointment after learning he’d be optioned to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
“It just blindsided me.. … I was not expecting this whatsoever,” Wade said last week. “I played well. I made the adjustments offensively. Now, it’s my defense that’s not good enough.”
Manager Aaron Boone didn’t object to Wade’s reaction, essentially challenging him to channel his energy positively.
“We want him to go after it (in the minors), knowing he’s going to be a part o this team at some point,’’ Boone said last Monday. “And knowing he has a chance to impact our club in a big way.
“Things change in a hurry.’’
Follow the Bergen Record’s Pete Caldera on Twitter @pcaldera.