LeMahieu nears return but Yankees get a superior alternative in Cabrera

Oswaldo Cabrera runs after hitting a home run for the Yankees win doubleheader Game 1 vs. the Guardians in Cleveland on April 13, 2024.

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DJ LeMahieu is nearing rehab and may soon be back in the Yankees’ lineup. However, Oswaldo Cabrera, who has taken over his place on the rosters, is thriving and offers a superior option to the team. He has consistently energized the team whenever he’s had playing time. With both LeMahieu and Jon Berti out, Cabrera is likely to receive a regular flow of at-bats and may even delay LeMahieu’s return to action.

Cabrera played a pivotal role in the Yankees’ win during the first game of their Saturday doubleheader. His two-run home run in the early innings was instrumental in their narrow 3-2 victory over the Guardians at Progressive Field. Shortly after this game, the Yankees placed Jon Berti on the 10-day IL due to a left groin strain.

Continuing his strong performance from the first game, Cabrera remained on fire in the nightcap. He secured an RBI double, adding to the Yankees’ convincing 8-2 victory. This marked a standout day for Cabrera, who made a successful return to the lineup after sitting out briefly against left-handed pitchers during the Marlins series.

Catcher Jose Trevino spoke highly of Cabrera, praising his commitment and positive impact on the team. Trevino remarked, “Talk about somebody that comes to the field every day and gives everything he has — the definition is Oswaldo Cabrera; watching him grow, watching him come up, watching him play the game, how he handles himself, how he handles his teammates, it’s top of the charts for me.”

Cabrera wins Yankees trust as injury allows him to play

After overcoming a challenging 2023 season, Cabrera has emerged as a potent offensive presence for the Yankees in the early stages of 2024. He has reached base in an impressive 10 out of 11 games played, with eight of his 13 hits resulting in RBIs. This outstanding performance is reflected in his current batting average of .317 and a high on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) of .963. With 11 RBIs, he is second only to teammate Juan Soto for the team lead in runs batted in.

When discussing his strong start to the season, Cabrera expressed satisfaction and attributed his success to his hitting coaches. He conveyed, “Feel happy about it, feel proud; me and all the hitting coaches, I know they feel the same way; but like I always say, we have to stay present all the time and keep working on the things we’ve been doing and try to get better all the time.”

As the Yankees look forward to the imminent return of veteran third baseman LeMahieu from a mid-March foot fracture, 25-year-old Oswaldo Cabrera continues to impressively hold down the fort. On Saturday, LeMahieu took part in fielding drills and increased running during the inter-game break, signaling positive strides in his rehabilitation process.

Manager Aaron Boone provided an optimistic update on LeMahieu’s rehabilitation, hinting that he may soon be ready to participate in minor league rehab games. Boone mentioned, “It seems like LeMahieu is nearing readiness for rehab games, hopefully in the near future. His eagerness to rejoin the team is evident, which is a positive sign. His progress over the past few weeks has been promising.”

Meanwhile, Jon Berti landed on the injured list due to a groin strain he suffered while hustling out an infield single in the ninth inning of Wednesday’s loss to the Marlins. To fill Berti’s roster spot, the Yankees called up Kevin Smith from Triple-A.

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