Yankees dodge major injury bullet to vital infield piece

MLB: Spring Training-Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees
Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

It was only a matter of time before injuries started to pop up for the New York Yankees. Things were far too quiet two weeks ago, prior to Gerrit Cole suffering an elbow injury and Aaron Judge dealing with an abdominal strain.

Fortunately, Cole will only miss a few months and should return during the 2024 season. Judge’s injury seems to be more related to fatigue, and the Yankees are taking precautions to mitigate that problem. However, starting third baseman DJ LeMahieu fouled ball offh is foot on Saturday, sending him crashing to the dirt and a taking knee for quite some time.

The foul ball hit the opposite foot, which he had been dealing with two years ago and had finally recovered from. Fortunately, the imaging came back clean, and DJ is likely just dealing with some bruising in the area, so the Yankees won’t rush him back, as he will take a few days off to recover.

“Hopefully it’s just a day-to-day thing,” Boone said on Sunday. “But he got it pretty good.”

The Yankees Need LeMahieu to Remain Healthy

The 35-year-old has played 10 spring training games, hitting .222/.276/.259, posting three RBIs with a 24.1% strikeout rate and a 6.9% walk rate. DJ is expected to serve as the team’s primary lead-off hitter moving forward, but if he weren’t able to go, the Yankees might consider moving Gleyber Torres up or even letting Anthony Volpe get a crack at the job.

LeMahieu, whose expertise and discipline are ideal, will hit ahead of Judge and Juan Soto, but Aaron Boone has plenty of alternative options if he wants to change things up.

This spring, Volpe has introduced a new swing and is hitting .368/.415/.500, showcasing plenty of upside as the team’s potential leadoff man down the road. With that being said, Volpe looks stronger and far more disciplined in the batter’s box, which bodes well for his future as an offensive weapon.

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