Yankees activate LeMahieu for season debut vs. Angels, new role awaits

Yankees' third baseman DJ LeMahieu plays his final rehab game with the Triple-A RailRiders at PNC Park on May 27, 2024.
Joe Najarian
Tuesday May 28, 2024

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The wait is over. After two months of recovery, setbacks, and anticipation, DJ LeMahieu is strapping on his cleats and dusting off his glove to finally step back onto the field for the New York Yankees at the big league level. As he prepares to take his place at third base against the Angels this Tuesday, his return is not just a boost for the team’s roster—it’s a sigh of relief for the Yankee faithful eager to see their lineup at full strength.

DJ LeMahieu’s difficult road back to Yankees

The journey back to health has not been straightforward for DJ LeMahieu. His season was abruptly derailed during a spring training game on March 16, when he fouled a ball off his right foot, leading to a diagnosis that evolved from a mere bone bruise to a non-displaced fracture after the swelling subsided.

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LeMahieu’s initial comeback in April was short-lived, lasting just one inning before foot soreness forced him to withdraw, leading to another week of shutdown. Following a cautious week of recovery, LeMahieu resumed his rehab with a focus on getting back to full health. His persistence paid off during his second rehab stint, where he displayed promising form over six games at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, batting .267 and reaching base at a high clip thanks to five walks, all while handling consecutive games without issue.

Manager Aaron Boone has already earmarked a significant role for LeMahieu upon his return. Taking over as the starting third baseman, a position temporarily filled by Oswaldo Cabrera and the injured Jon Berti, LeMahieu’s versatility will also be a key asset. Beyond his primary role, he is expected to periodically relieve Anthony Rizzo at first base and maybe provide Gleyber Torres with some respite at second base.

No Yankees leadoff role for LeMahieu

While LeMahieu’s return is a headline in its own right, it also has significant implications for the Yankees’ lineup strategy, particularly concerning Anthony Volpe. Despite LeMahieu’s comeback, Aaron Boone has decided to keep the young Anthony Volpe in the leadoff spot. Volpe has thrived in this role, embarking on a 19-game hitting streak that has seen him hit .333 with multiple extra-base hits and vital RBIs, contributing significantly to the Yankees’ recent performances.

Yankees put DJ Lemahieu on 60-day IL but he can return on May 28, 2024
SL.com

This decision underscores Boone’s confidence in Volpe’s current form and his ability to ignite the Yankees’ offense from the top of the order. Even as DJ LeMahieu returns to action, his placement in the lineup will initially be in the lower half, allowing him to ease back into regular play without the pressure of leading the offensive charge. DJLM enters an already packed Yankees lineup, who have been having an offensive season very opposite to what they did last year. Undoubtedly, with age, DJ LeMahieu’s range has reduced, which makes him less of an option at second base. But he can occasionally allow Rizzo the off day by taking up first base duties.

What do you think about DJ’s return to the Yankees clubhouse? Leave your comment below!

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