Yankees seem ready to transition to homegrown talent with DJ LeMahieu heading to injured list

mlb: new york yankees at pittsburgh pirates, oswaldo cabrera
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

New York Yankees third baseman DJ LeMahieu was expected to be at the hot corner for Opening Day against the Houston Astros. However, he recently suffered a bad bone bruise on his right foot, and his status for the first game of the season is now in question.

When asked about the veteran infielder on Sunday, Yankees manager Aaron Boone confirmed that he is still dealing with the issue and might not be ready to go when the Yanks face the Astros.

Per MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch:

“DJ is still not there. He did some more things today but is still pretty sore and dealing with it. He’s probably a little more of a long shot for Opening Day, but we’ll see. As days go off the calendar, it just depends on how he improves every day.”

With each passing day, the skipper sounds less optimistic about LeMahieu being available when camp breaks. The Yankees have an internal solution in Oswaldo Cabrera, and Boone seems to be OK with going that route should LeMahieu miss the start of the season.

Can the Yankees Get the 2022 Version of Cabrera?

Cabrera, after his explosive 2022 late-season showing in which he hit six homers and posted a 113 wRC+, has failed to establish himself as a starting-caliber player in MLB.

Last year, he slashed .211/.275/.299 in 330 plate appearances with a highly disappointing 60 wRC+. He got chance after chance but failed to make a lasting impression.

After an offseason dedicated to working on his physique, Cabrera has also been fairly mediocre in spring training play. In 20 exhibition games, he has hit .213/.302/.362 with a .664 OPS.

There are some things that indicate that Cabrera might be trending in the right direction, though. For starters, he has two homers and two stolen bases for the Yankees in spring training and has accumulated two long balls, a double, three runs, and three RBI in his last five games.

The sample is tiny, but Cabrera seems to be getting in a nice groove at the plate.

Is he capable of returning to that late 2022 form that made him one of the Yankees’ future core pieces? Only time will tell, but he has a prime opportunity now.

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