The New York Yankees got a bit healthier on Saturday afternoon when they announced the return of utilityman and lead-off hitter DJ LeMahieu.
DJ has been fighting off a quad injury he sustained several days ago but was considered minor. At 34 years old, LeMahieu has had his fair share of injury issues in the most recent past, precisely a toe problem that knocked him out of the 2022 postseason and ended his campaign prematurely.
The Yankees need DJ LeMahieu healthy:
Losing LeMahieu is a detriment to the offense, considering he started the 2023 season hitting .263 with a .333 OBP, recording one homer and three RBIs across ten games. He currently hosts a 128 wRC+ and has offered elite defense at multiple positions, notably third base in the absence of Josh Donaldson. Donaldson is still recovering from a tweaked hamstring he sustained about a week ago, and without him, the Yankees have had to manage with their supplements, since DJ has also missed the last two games.
LeMahieu currently features an abnormal 31% strikeout rate, but that number will decrease as the season progresses, considering he hosts a 14.6% average K/rate in his career.
In LeMahieu’s absence, the Yankees gave top prospect Anthony Volpe an opportunity to lead off, in which he was excellent over a small sample size. In fact, over seven at-bats, he has two hits, including a double and a home run. He’s hitting .286 with a .375 OBP, but batting in the ninth spot, he’s only recorded five hits, hitting .147 with a .256 OBP. Of course, the sample size is much smaller, but it shouldn’t be overlooked since Volpe seems to respond well to challenges.
Unfortunately for Volpe, DJ will reclaim the lead-off spot, and the team’s youngster will head back down to the bottom of the lineup again.