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RiverDogs' Andujar flashes power stroke

Yankees' No. 19 prospect goes 3-for-4 with two home runs, five RBIs
May 18, 2014

After not going yard at all in April, Charleston's Miguel Andujar already has three home runs in May. Two of those blasts came Sunday.

The Yankees' No. 19 prospect launched a three-run homer with two outs in the fifth inning and went deep with one out and one on in the seventh in the RiverDogs' 10-3 win against the Sand Gnats on "Bark in the Park" day in Savannah.

"It really doesn't surprise me because of the ability that he has to connect with the ball," Charleston hitting coach Edwar Gonzalez said. "The beginning of the season was a little rough for him because he's a young guy in a new environment, first time he's under the lights. He was trying to do a little too much. But he's turned into his old self a little bit these past couple of weeks."

Andujar, who signed with New York as a non-drafted free agent in 2011, spent his first two seasons in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. He began this year at Class A Charleston and was batting .217/.278/.326 through 38 games before Sunday.

The 19-year-old's slash line improved to .232/.295/.380 with his fourth three-hit game and second consecutive multi-hit game in 2014. His two home runs and five RBIs both marked career highs.

"His approach is a lot better now," Gonzalez said. "It's about trusting his ability and not trying to do too much just because he's in another league and there's a lot of people in the stands. But I think he's kind of getting over that now and getting comfortable playing every day, under the lights, and seeing a bunch of fans."

Perhaps there's something about playing during the day, before the lights come on. In seven day games, Andujar is hitting .407 (11-for-27). His average in 32 night games is just .191 (22-for-115).

Andujar sent only one over the fence in 2012 and hit four homers last year. The third baseman's first roundtripper of this season occurred May 3.

"I believe down the road he will be a power guy," Gonzalez said. "The main thing that he needs to do is get good pitches to hit. If they make a mistake and his mind is right, it's going to happen, just because he has the ability to pull the ball with the barrel of the bat, and he has the power. He's been developing the power every year, the more and more I see him."

On Sunday, the Dominican Republic native was hit by a pitch in the first inning and grounded out to third two frames later, before rattling off three straight hits. He singled and scored in the ninth to cap his day.

"I don't doubt that he's a good hitter and he will be a great hitter," Gonzalez said. "I haven't doubted that one bit and he doesn't either. It's just a matter of making the adjustments that he needs to make and acting like there's no tomorrow.

"Instead of thinking that there's two months left in the season, just think there's no tomorrow so he can make the adjustments faster. His mind-set is a lot better, that is the main thing with him. If his mind-set is getting to where it needs to be, he'll be OK."

Charleston starter Luis Severino, New York's No. 10 prospect, scattered three hits and a walk while striking out five over four shutout innings. In 41 innings over nine starts, he sports a 1.76 ERA.

Mark Emery is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @Mark_Emery.