Boone rules out LeMahieu of Opening Day roster citing ‘significant’ bone bruise

DJ LeMahieu of the Yankees is in action during the spring training in February 2024 as Gleyber Torres looks on.
Sara Molnick
Tuesday March 19, 2024

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Manager Aaron Boone has revealed that DJ LeMahieu has sustained a “pretty significant bone bruise” on his right foot. While X-rays ruled out a fracture, a bone bruise presents a challenge for the 35-year-old player, who has a recent history of injuries, including a previous toe issue on the same foot. This injury history suggests that LeMahieu’s recovery process could be prolonged and he is going to miss the Opening Day.

“I’m not going to have him playing through anything initially,” Boone said, “because I feel like that’s where you start compensating and then you start putting other parts of the body, and that foot even, in jeopardy.”

New York Yankees fans experienced a concerning moment during Saturday’s game when veteran third baseman LeMahieu displayed signs of discomfort after fouling a pitch off his right foot. His delayed reaction in getting up from the field raised red flags about a potential injury, and those apprehensions were confirmed on Monday.

The immediate impact on the Yankees remains uncertain. While initial reports indicate that LeMahieu is likely to miss some time, the exact duration of his absence is yet to be determined. This creates a cloud of uncertainty surrounding the team’s starting lineup, particularly with fellow key player Aaron Judge also sidelined due to an abdominal injury.

DJ LeMahieu of the Yankees is in action during the spring training in February 2024.

The Yankees will need to closely monitor LeMahieu’s recovery progress and explore potential replacements at third base in the interim. This could involve turning to younger options within the organization or seeking external solutions until LeMahieu is healthy enough to make his return to the field.

“I’ve been clear with DJ on that. We’ll be treating it. He’s doing significantly better than he was yesterday and the day before,” the Yankees manager said. “We’re going to listen to the foot. We’ll just see. That’s a long way to go still. It’s a long way to go. Everyone’s still in the mix in different ways and we’ll see. [DJ] very well could be there, so we’ll see.”

Yankees taking a cautious approach with LeMahieu’s foot

dj-lemahieu-new-york-yankees
AP

The New York Yankees are adopting a cautious approach to DJ LeMahieu’s foot injury, prioritizing his long-term well-being over rushing him back onto the field prematurely. This strategy comes in the wake of LeMahieu sustaining a “pretty significant bone bruise” on his right foot from a foul ball during Saturday’s game.

Manager Aaron Boone has emphasized that the team will not push LeMahieu to play through any discomfort. Boone acknowledges the potential consequences of such a decision, including the risk of further injury to the foot or the development of compensatory issues that could impact other areas of LeMahieu’s body. Boone has clearly communicated this stance to LeMahieu, stressing the importance of prioritizing a full recovery.

There are, however, positive signs emerging. The Yankees are actively treating the injury, and LeMahieu has shown significant improvement compared to earlier in the week. A re-evaluation is scheduled for midweek, with Boone stating, “We’re going to listen to the foot.”

With Opening Day just 10 days away, the Yankees remain hopeful that LeMahieu will be ready to take the field. However, Boone acknowledges the uncertainty surrounding the situation. He recognizes that while various options are still on the table, making a definitive decision on LeMahieu’s status for Opening Day would be premature at this stage. The Yankees will continue to closely monitor LeMahieu’s recovery and adapt their plans accordingly as the situation unfolds.

Who is to replace LeMahieu at third base

Oswaldo Cabrera of the Yankees is celebrating after a home run against the Athletics on May 8, 2023, at Yankee Stadium.
Twitter/NYY

With LeMahieu’s availability for the start of the season in doubt due to a bone bruise, the New York Yankees face a potential conundrum at the third base position. If he is unable to take the field in a healthy condition, the team will need to identify a suitable replacement.

The Yankees currently lack a clear-cut backup option at third base. This situation presents two possible solutions: exploring internal options or pursuing external acquisitions.

From within the organization, the Yankees could turn to utility infielder Oswaldo Cabrera. Cabrera showcased impressive power-hitting abilities on Monday, launching a home run and a double. Another possibility is Jahmai Jones, who has seen playing time at third base during spring training.

Franchy Cordero in pinstripes during a game at Yankee Stadium.

However, relying solely on internal options might not be an ideal strategy. The Yankees might explore acquiring an established infielder to fill the void left by LeMahieu’s absence. This could involve making a trade with another team or capitalizing on opportunities on the waiver wire. Last spring, the Yankees successfully executed a similar move by claiming outfielder Franchy Cordero after he was released by the Baltimore Orioles.

Ultimately, the Yankees’ course of action will depend on the severity of LeMahieu’s injury and the anticipated recovery timeline. If LeMahieu is expected to miss a significant portion of the season, the likelihood of acquiring an experienced infielder via trade or the waiver wire increases. However, if his absence is projected to be short-term, the Yankees might opt for an internal solution, with either Cabrera or Jones filling in at third base.

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