MOOSIC — Brandon Drury has spent the last two and a half weeks on the disabled list with severe migraines and blurred vision.
Despite being unable to help his team during that time, in what has been a roller coaster for the New York Yankees, he’s finally made some progress in improving the migraines and blurred vision. Drury now has a diagnosis for his frustrating symptoms — an irritated tendon that runs through his neck and into his head.
The Yankees third baseman said the diagnosis wasn’t a surprised. It matched up with the symptoms he’s been having. But he’s relieved to figure out what has the cause for what has troubled him since his time with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
And now he’s back to baseball and rejoining his teammates, who have won won four straight. Drury was in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders’ lineup in the series finale against the Columbus Clippers. And he made the most of his scheduled seven innings of action.
The 25-year-old was 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored and an RBI and was in the action during the RailRiders two run-scoring innings en route to a 8-5 victory over the Clippers. Not to mention, Drury’s first game back came during a rain shower and a cloud of fog during most of the contest, including a 56-minute rain delay.
“It felt good. I felt solid out there,” said Drury, who’s scheduled to play nine innings at third base Friday in Lehigh Valley. “Feeling some improvements for sure. I’m still going to keep working to get those improvements better each day.
“That’s part of it. It’s not the weather, and that kind of thing doesn’t really matter to me. I’m just here to get my timing right and test my vision out and get ready to get back to help the big club out.”
Columbus struck first, hammering RailRiders southpaw Daniel Camarena for three runs in the first inning and then another in the second, but Scranton/Wilkes-Barre was ready to pounce back.
After a couple of quiet innings, the RailRiders burst out for five runs in the third, taking a 5-4.
With Stephen Fife pitching for the Clippers and with Billy Fleming, Cody Asche and Tyler Wade getting the ball rolling with back-to-back-to-back singles, Drury cashed in. The third baseman floated a ball into center field, scoring Fleming while Asche and Wade each moved up a base. Then Shane Robinson dropped the hammer.
Robinson drilled a bases-clearing double off of the center field wall. While Mike Ford would go on to hit into the first out of the frame, his grounder to the first baseman pushed Robinson across the plate to cap off the five-run inning.
With the game tied 5-5, Drury put the RailRiders back in action in the fifth inning.
The rehabbing third baseman drilled a ball through the gap between the third and shortstop. Robinson was right behind Drury, sending a single into center field. Ford brought the pair home with a bases-clearing double to the center field wall himself.
“Obviously a big hit by Robinson. Huge hit by Ford. It was great to see,” RailRiders manager Bobby Mitchell said. “We fall behind 4-0 and then nobody panicked. They did a good job have having good at-bats and Drury helped us, too. I’m glad to see he’s swinging the bat well from being off. It’s not easy to do.
“I thought we played hard and did a good job of — I would say pecking away, but we scored the five runs in that inning — came back with that and our pitching did a really good job.”
Brady Lail took over for Daniel Camarena in the top of the fifth after the RailRiders southpaw gave up five runs in 4.1 innings and left Columbus shortstop Yu Chang on first base after a single to right field. But the starter-turned-reliever settled everything down for the RailRiders.
Lail retired the first six batters he face, with four of them being strikeouts before he walked Columbus’ Francisco Mejia worked a four-pitch walk. Then after Scranton/Wilkes-Barre left fielder Zack Zehner misplayed a fly ball in center field, the Clippers had runners on first and second with one out.
But before the Clippers could turn the base runners into runs, Chang grounded into an inning-ending double play to erase the threat. The double play was the second Drury had turned of the game.
“Lail’s throwing some of the best innings he’s thrown in a long time,” Mitchell said. “It’s a credit to (pitching coach Tommy Phelps) and him, the way they’ve worked on a lot of different stuff. He was outstanding. He made some really good pitches.”
Every Wednesday is Pay It Forward Wednesday at PNC Field. A portion of Wednesday’s walk-up ticket sales went to the MLB Urban Youth Academy in Compton, Calif., where Kyle Higashioka, a Huntington Beach, Calif., native, trained and now volunteers at during the offseason.
Reach DJ Eberle at 570-991-6398 or on Twitter @ByDJEberle