Yankees’ Aaron Boone provides update on injured veteran third baseman

MLB: Texas Rangers at New York Yankees, dj lemahieu
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DJ LeMahieu has become an afterthought to some after the hot start from Oswaldo Cabrera, but the New York Yankees are carefully monitoring his health. After suffering a non-displaced fracture in his right foot, the 35-year-old infielder has been rehabbing to try and get back into game action. Aaron Boone spoke to the media today, and after talking about the injury that Jonathan Loaisiga suffered that will result in season-ending elbow surgery, he also mentioned DJ LeMahieu and some of the progress he’s been making.

According to Bryan Hoch, the Yankees had him take on-field batting practice yesterday and Boone believes we could see LeMahieu playing in games sometime soon. It likely would be a rehab assignment, but the Yankees could see their veteran infielder taking in-game reps sooner rather than later.

DJ LeMahieu Took On-Field BP With the Yankees, Could Get Into Games Soon

MLB: Spring Training-Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees
Mar 11, 2024; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees third baseman DJ LeMahieu (26) singles during the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees have been without DJ LeMahieu for the start of the season, and while they’ve gotten strong production from Oswaldo Cabrera in the meantime, his role in the lineup is still important. A contact-oriented bat with good plate discipline, LeMahieu would give Aaron Boone and the team more options to go to offensively and deepen a lineup going through a pretty nasty slump. If he were to get into game action, we’d likely see that happen at the Minor League level first on a rehab assignment, although one would believe the ramp-up wouldn’t be too crazy.

A valid concern regarding the foot injury is that it’s on the same foot he suffered a toe injury on a couple of years ago, one that saw him tail off at the end of the 2022 season and miss the postseason entirely. We know that when the veteran infielder is right, he’s a solid option at the top of the order, but as he continues to age and deal with injuries, the question of what you can expect from him this season becomes more and more uncertain.

MLB: New York Yankees-Workouts
Feb 20, 2024; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees infielder DJ LeMahieu (26) catches the ball at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Something that LeMahieu does provide however is stability at the third base position, as he’s quietly been one of the better defenders at the hot corner over the past two seasons. At third base, LeMahieu has +10 Defensive Runs Saved and +7 Outs Above Average, which would be a nice boost to have there considering the defensive woes the Yankees have had in some games. It nearly cost them in Arizona, but they were able to overcome it with some timely hits from Alex Verdugo and Aaron Judge late in the game.

What the Yankees also could get is some competition for Giancarlo Stanton, who is off to a miserable start and has struggled for the last year and a half now. If the Yankees can get LeMahieu back, perhaps they open up the DH spot for Gleyber Torres to get reps there or even Anthony Rizzo, allowing them to deepen the lineup more and provide some tough at-bats for pitchers. The Yankees have done an excellent job of working pitch counts, and LeMahieu would help on that front as well.

It remains unclear when the Yankees can expect DJ LeMahieu back, but he seems to be progressing well, and if he gets into games soon, we could see him before April comes to a close.

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