Veteran assures Yankees over fitness, prospect dazzles

Yankees infielder DJ LeMahieu, prospect Spencer Jones, and catcher Jose Trevino.

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LeMachine is ready to assure the Yankees of a healthy season in 2023. In his usual quiet way, DJ LeMahieu declared this week that his foot feels “good, so that’s good.” LeMahieu’s big right toe injury forced him to move to the injured list last season and he felt it hard to play thereafter. He gave his foot time to heal over the offseason and still finds time to relax in camp.

LeMahieu has cut down on the number of reps he does on the field and in the batting cage, and he says he feels good. The Yankees No. 26 is hitting .333 with a pair of walks in 20 plate appearances in the Grapefruit League as of Thursday.

“I feel really good about where he’s at with it,” Aaron Boone said soon after LeMahieu blasted a homer on Tuesday. “[He] hit a ball to right-center, that homer the other night, that I don’t know when he’s hit a ball that far. That ball was absolutely crushed.”

Dj LeMahieu of the New York Yankees
AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

On Thursday, the Yankees manager was a bit more excited.

“We’ve had really a few months now with zero issues,” the manager as his team played the Pirates at Steinbrenner Field. “So, I hope [we are past the injury].”

So far, things are looking good for the Yankees and their versatile infield tool. On defense, he has been able to move freely between second, third, and first. LeMahieu had a .813 OPS through July of last season and was a good leadoff hitter before Aaron Judge. The injury to LeMahieu’s foot ruined the rest of his season, which ended with an OPS of .734.

“He played through the injury, [and] his numbers suffered there as a result,” Boone said of LeMahieu. “But he’s just such a good hitter, such a smart hitter, such a patient hitter.”

Yankees’ Spencer Jones continues to impress

Yankees prospect Spencer Jones in 2022

Yankees 6-foot-7 prospect and outfielder Spencer Jones is often compared to Aaron Judge for physical similarities. In his two at-bats, the 25th pick in the 2022 MLB Draft hit singles to right field and center field though the Yankees lost to the Tigers 8-7. Jones is only four for twelve in the Grapefruit League.

On Friday, the New York Yankees squandered up a 7-0 lead to the Tigers by the third inning. However, the backups fought hard and almost won the game. In the first five innings of the game, Domingo German and Matt Krook failed miserably. However, Deivi Garcia struck out batters at an impressive rate.

Evan Florial had two hits and three RBIs in his four at-bats. He hit a single to right field and a ground out to second, which drove in Oswald Peraza in the seventh inning. Wilmer Difo also got on the scoreboard. He had two hits, one of which was a two-run home run in the seventh inning that drove in Spencer Jones.

German lacks the ability to bite

Before Friday’s Yankees game in Lakeland started, Aaron Boone, the manager of the Yankees, gushed about how good Domingo Germán has been in the Grapefruit League so far this month.

A few hours later, the right-hander gave up four home runs and seven earned runs in 2 2/3 innings against the Tigers. The Yankees fought back on offense in the last few innings, but it was too late. They lost 8-7.

The Yankees starter gave up nine hits and hit more batters (two) than he struck out (one). The four home runs that German gave up were all misses. Three of the long balls that Detroit hit off German came in the third inning when they scored five runs.

Boone also said that German’s pitches on Friday didn’t have the same bite and power.

IKF is good but Hicks remains an issue

On Friday, Isiah Kiner-Falefa made his debut appearance in center field for the Yankees and was put to the test early and frequently. The utilityman recorded the game’s first two outs, catching simple flyballs. He ended up making five of the game’s first seven defensive outs, appearing at ease in his new role. After the game, the Yankees were happy with his performance.

As IKF was looking slick in the middle, Aaron Hicks made another perplexing play on the left. Hicks pulled shortstop Anthony Volpe from the game in the third inning because he was camped beneath a pop-up. Hicks slid forward and came up empty, enabling second baseman Colt Keith to sprint all the way to third for a triple.

Injured Yankees status

Jose Trevino hit the ball for the first time since March 9 but he hurt his right wrist. Nine days later, it looks like he is on his way to recovery. Boone is hopeful that he will be ready to play for the Yankees against the Tigers on Tuesday in Tampa.

Tommy Kahnle is expected to start throwing again on Friday. He has tendinitis in his right biceps. The Yankees hope that Carlos Rodon will be able to start throwing this weekend. He has a mild strain of the brachioradialis muscle in his left forearm. But Kahnle and Rodon will begin the Yankees season on the list of players who are hurt.

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