Yankees’ veteran infielder has rehab assignment delayed after MRI revealed lack of healing

MLB: Spring Training-New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays
Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees get some poor news about their infield, as after DJ LeMahieu was expected to begin his rehab assignment today in Somerset, he instead found himself back in the Bronx. After undergoing an MRI last night, doctors were not comfortable clearing him for a rehab assignment after it showed a lack of healing according to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com. While the Yankees have gotten plenty of production from Oswaldo Cabrera in his absence, their lack of infield depth does present some concerns if they were to lose an infielder.

DJ LeMahieu also told reporters that he hopes to begin playing in 3-4 days, expressing frustration about the situation as he eagerly anticipates when he can make his 2024 debut.

MRI Reveals Lack of Healing For DJ LeMahieu, Yankees to Delay His Return

MLB: Spring Training-Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees
Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a pretty bad break for DJ LeMahieu, who was expecting to begin a rehab assignment tonight in Somerset with the Yankees’ Double-A affiliate. Instead, he finds himself taking on-field batting practice instead, waiting for when he can be cleared to begin game action by team doctors. The MRI taken on his nondisplaced foot fracture didn’t reveal enough healing for doctors to feel comfortable clearing him and given his last foot injury, this can be a cause for concern.

Back in 2022, the 35-year-old third baseman had a strong start to his season, putting up All-Star caliber numbers as their leadoff hitter until a foot injury late in the season. Trying to play through it, he’d return from the injured list just to find his power completely zapped as the foot hadn’t healed entirely. LeMahieu would be shut down for the postseason, as the Yankees would have their season end at the hands of the Astros in a four-game sweep.

The Yankees are hoping they can avoid that same fate, and delaying his return is the right call given the fact that it’s the same foot he injured in 2022. It does put a lot of pressure on their current infield to continue to produce, and given some of their defensive woes, this isn’t good news for the Bronx Bombers.

Syndication: Arizona Republic, yankees, oswaldo cabrera
Credit: Michael Chow/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

One of the biggest surprise stories of the season for the Yankees has been the emergence of Oswaldo Cabrera, who is slashing .309/.350/.545 with three home runs and 13 RBIs in the early going. He’s given the Yankees a huge breather at the hot corner, as they’ve been battered and bruised in their infield. First, it was Oswald Peraza, who suffered a shoulder injury that has sidelined him since the early parts of Spring Training. He was expected to be their backup infielder, and when DJ LeMahieu fouled a ball off of his right foot things only got worse.

Jon Berti was acquired to provide some insurance at third base, but an abductor injury suffered at some point during the Miami series would cause him to go to the IL as well. The Yankees are in a tough spot as Jahmai Jones is their only infielder, and this only further complicates the decision to claim Taylor Trammell off of waivers for Kevin Smith, as they added an outfielder while DFA’ing a versatile infield option.

If push came to shove and another injury was to occur, Caleb Durbin’s hot start in Triple-A and Aaron Boone’s strong praise for him could give him a chance at being called up. It’s a weird spot for the Yankees to be in, but they hope that this is a temporary situation and not one that carries into the month of May or June.

UPDATE: Aaron Boone mentioned that Tuesday is now the targeted date for LeMahieu to begin his rehab assignment.

Mentioned in this article:

More about: