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Yankees sent rookie 3B Miguel Andujar to minors

(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) New York Yankees rookie Miguel Andujar will start the season in the minors, rather than at third base in the majors.

The Yankees optioned Andujar to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Sunday, clearing the way for Brandon Drury to claim the spot.

The move allows the 23-year-old Andujar, who hit .262 with four homers and 10 RBIs in 14 spring training games, to work on his defense in the minors.

"I think everybody got a peek at the kind of hitter we think he's going to be," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "Had a long talk with him (and told him), just go down there and continue to polish, continue to get better, continue to work, and it won't be too long before he's up here for good."

Drury, obtained from Arizona last month, was the front-runner for the position. He hit .267 with 13 homers and 63 RBIs for Arizona last season.

Another rookie, Gleyber Torres, was in the mix to start at second base but was optioned March 13 to Triple-A. Boone said Torres will split time between his natural shortstop position and second.

Neil Walker, signed as a free agent Monday, played second for the first time and went 2 for 2, including a two-run double, in the Yankees' 8-5 win over the Miami Marlins. Tyler Wade is also getting time at second.

The rest of the infield will be Greg Bird at first and Didi Gregorius playing short. The Yankees outfield is set with Brett Gardner in left and Aaron Hicks in center.

Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton will share right field and DH. Stanton has also emerged as a left field option when Gardner get a day off.

Boone announced Saturday that Luis Severino will start opening day on March 29 at Toronto, and will be followed in the four-game set with the Blue Jays by Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia and Sonny Gray.

Jordan Montgomery will take the mound for home opener April 2 against Tampa Bay.

"It's an honor," Severino said. "I was happy. After they told me I called my mother right away. It's something to celebrate."

Severino allowed three runs, seven hits and struck out seven in five innings Sunday. Gary Sanchez, the starting catcher, and Bird homered off former Yankees left-hander Caleb Smith.

Stanton, in his first game against his former team, hugged Marlins manager Don Mattingly in the dugout and talked with former teammates before the game. The slugger, acquired in a December trade with Miami, had an RBI single, walked twice and struck out.

Stanton said seeing the Marlins' uniform in spring training wasn't strange but added it will be a "little weird" in the regular season.

The two teams play a two-game series April 16-17 at Yankee Stadium.

NOTES: Stanton just missed making a diving catch in left field on Scott Van Slyke's fourth-inning double. ... New York reassigned promising 20-year old outfielder Estevan Florial to its minor league camp. ... Boone hopes OF Jacoby Ellsbury (oblique) can get at-bats in a simulated game Monday despite having a sore throat and fever Sunday. ... OF Clint Frazier (concussion) took dry swings and played catch.

Updated March 18, 2018

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