Before a three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles, New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone provided updates on several injuries.
Josh Donaldson and Giancarlo Stanton, notably, are both making substantial progress in their recoveries. Donaldson, in particular, is preparing for another possible rehab assignment on Thursday.
Donaldson previously aggravated a hamstring injury, which he had incurred just five games into the regular season, during his last attempted comeback.
He recently suffered a setback when he cut his finger while assembling something for his daughter at home. This incident delayed his return by a few days. However, he is now showing promising progress and is expected to play regularly upon his return, as Boone indicated on Tuesday.
The Yankees can’t rely on Josh Donaldson as a starter anymore:
Donaldson, now 37, is past his prime. Last season, he batted .222 with a .308 on-base percentage, contributing 15 home runs and 62 RBIs, and earning a weighted runs created plus (wRC+) score of 97 (indicating he was 3% worse than the average player).
Despite his diminishing offensive output, he was arguably a contender for the Gold Glove award on defense, recording a .961 fielding percentage, saving seven defensive runs, and making seven outs above average.
In 2023, Donaldson began by batting .125 with a .176 on-base percentage over 17 plate appearances. This limited sample size should not be overemphasized.
Meanwhile, DJ LeMahieu has been consistently playing at third base for the Yankees and has excelled defensively.
Although his .252 batting average and .324 on-base percentage are below his usual standards, he has had a spectacular defensive season thus far. He boasts a .988 fielding percentage at third base and has saved two defensive runs.
The truth is, Donaldson shouldn’t be given regular playing time in the infield, especially when Oswaldo Cabrera needs more opportunities to shine offensively and Oswald Peraza is eagerly waiting for another chance to demonstrate his value at the MLB level.
At most, Donaldson should provide additional support by allowing players like LeMahieu to take rest days, and occasionally serve as a designated hitter to relieve some of the pressure on Stanton.