Surprisingly, the New York Yankees have won 8 of their last 10 games despite facing significant adversity in the bullpen and both infield and outfield positions. The injured list is still compromised of a long list of impact players, but the team is expecting reinforcements in the next two weeks.
The infield has been a game of Russian roulette, especially at first base with Anthony Rizzo and DJ LeMahieu out. Marwin Gonzalez has primarily featured there, playing serviceable defense and offering average-level offensive play.
However, the team is expecting both LeMahieu and Rizzo back within the next week, finally offering significant reinforcements to a unit that has been shredded with inconsistencies over the past 1.5 months.
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Yankees gearing up for infield reinforcements at the perfect time:
DJ LeMahieu has been dealing with a right toe injury that has kept him out since September 4. Spending the past 11 days on the injured list, LeMahieu is in line to return next week, but the Yankees could give him a bit more time to recover and heal if they continue to win games.
Ultimately, if he’s not needed immediately, giving him as much time as possible before the playoffs to get healthy is a good move.
“I anticipate coming back pretty close to full strength,” LeMahieu said.
Prior to going down, DJ was hitting .211 with a 27.6% on-base rate in August and .000 with a 7.7% on-base rate in the month of September over three games.
Clearly, the injury was impacting him significantly, stating that he wasn’t able to rotate his foot properly in the batter’s box. He mentioned that the injury doesn’t strain him defensively as much, but if he’s not producing an offense, the Yankees are put in a tough spot.
“When I can’t be myself, when I can’t hit, I’m not doing anyone any favors by just being a body out there,” he said.
The expected timetable for return is next week against the Pittsburgh Pirates when the Yankees travel back to the Bronx after a three-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers starting on Friday night.
On the other hand, the Yankees also have Anthony Rizzo nearing a return. He’s also expected to make a comeback against Pittsburgh when the Yankees travel home next Tuesday.
On the season, Rizzo hosts a .225 average with a 34% on-base rate, 30 homers, and 71 RBIs. The Bombers have specifically preferred left-handed hitters playing first base, which is why they have Marwin currently featuring at the position.
Rizzo hasn’t made an appearance since August 30, but he hit home runs in consecutive games before heading to the injured list with a lower back issue. Rizzo might’ve already returned if not for an epidural that caused serious headaches, forcing him to bed rest by doctor’s orders.
However, getting back two impact players in the infield should do wonders for the Yankees’ offense, which has turned a corner recently, scoring 32 runs in their last four games combined.