Yankees return veteran infielder after injury to fill third base

MLB: New York Yankees at Arizona Diamondbacks, jon berti
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees are bolstering their lineup over the weekend with the return of veteran infielder Jon Berti, who was acquired from the Miami Marlins at the start of the 2024 season. With DJ LeMahieu sidelined, Berti has had to assume a more significant role. However, after sustaining a groin injury against Miami a few weeks ago, he has been diligently working his way back, participating in several minor-league rehab games.

During Berti’s absence, Oswaldo Cabrera stepped in but has experienced mixed results. Initially displaying impressive efficiency, Cabrera’s performance has waned over the past two weeks. He is currently batting .245 with a .282 on-base percentage, a .391 slugging rate, and a 94 wRC+.

MLB: Oakland Athletics at New York Yankees, jon berti
Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Yankees Reinforce Infield with Jon Berti’s Return

Defensively, Cabrera has recorded a .965 fielding percentage across 250.2 innings at third base, managing one defensive run saved but also accruing -4 outs above average. His defensive struggles have been noticeable, making Berti’s return a welcomed addition to the lineup, especially considering his experience and past production.

The 34-year-old Berti is not far removed from a season where he stole 41 bases for the Marlins. Last year, he added 16 steals, hit seven home runs, and drove in 33 RBIs over 133 games, posting a batting line of .294/.344/.405 with an 18.2% strikeout rate and a 6.8% walk rate, culminating in a 103 wRC+. Traditionally, Berti has been a solid player known particularly for his strong defensive skills at third base, which will be valuable for a Yankee team struggling with infield defense this season.

With Cabrera’s recent inconsistencies, Berti is expected to rejoin the starting lineup, pushing Cabrera back to a super-utility role where he can provide rest and support for other players. Meanwhile, LeMahieu is also on the mend, hoping to resume his rehabilitation soon after exiting a minor-league game following just one at-bat last week due to a setback with his foot injury. The Yankees are proceeding cautiously with his recovery, aware of the potential complications.

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