With LeMahieu hurt, Yankees to reshuffle deck on Torres, Cabrera roles

Yankees' second baseman Gleyber Torres is at George M. Steinbrenner Field, Tampa, on March 24, 2024.

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New York Yankees third baseman DJ LeMahieu‘s bid to return from a bone bruise in time for Opening Day has fallen short, according to General Manager Brian Cashman. The injury, sustained on March 16th when he fouled a ball off his right foot, will force LeMahieu to begin the season on the injured list.

Cashman announced during a press conference in Tampa on Monday. LeMahieu had been ramping up his workload in recent days with the hope of being ready for the season opener against the Houston Astros on Thursday. However, persistent pain and swelling in his foot necessitated a more cautious approach.

“We don’t want to rush him back and risk further injury,” Cashman explained.

Manager Aaron Boone echoed this sentiment. Speaking before the Yankees’ final exhibition game against the Diablos Rojos del Mexico, Boone revealed concerns about LeMahieu’s progress over the past two days. The slow recovery threw his availability for the upcoming games into question.

With LeMahieu sidelined, the Yankees are left scrambling for a solution at third base. Oswaldo Cabrera is the current frontrunner to fill the void, but Cashman left the door open for a potential last-minute acquisition before the season opener.

LeMahieu’s absence creates a significant challenge for the Yankees heading into the regular season. They’ll need to find a way to replace his dependable presence at the hot corner and in the lineup.

LeMahieu set to miss the Opening Day vs. Astros

LeMahieu of the Yankees at a practice session.

The New York Yankees are taking a cautious approach with DJ LeMahieu’s recovery from a bone bruise in his right foot. While officially placed on the injured list to start the season, a potential return by the home opener on April 5th remains a possibility.

Speaking at a press conference, General Manager Brian Cashman revealed LeMahieu will undergo a follow-up MRI on Friday, as originally planned despite negative results from initial tests. This additional scan aims to provide a clearer picture of LeMahieu’s healing process.

Manager Aaron Boone shared cautious optimism, hoping the MRI would reveal reduced swelling and a path toward a quicker return. He acknowledged concerns about the injury potentially lingering into the season, stressing the importance of continued monitoring.

While LeMahieu will remain in Tampa during his absence, his activities will be carefully managed to avoid aggravating the injury. The medical staff is prioritizing pain management and workload control. Boone emphasized that LeMahieu’s recovery hinges on his tolerance for increased activity without discomfort.

This cautious approach stems from a similar situation LeMahieu faced late in the 2022 season. Playing through a right foot issue back then impacted his performance and likely contributed to lingering problems early in 2023. By prioritizing rest and controlled activity now, the Yankees hope to avoid a similar scenario and ensure LeMahieu’s long-term health.

The Yankees currently face a challenge at third base due to LeMahieu’s absence. Oswaldo Cabrera is the frontrunner to fill the role, but the team hasn’t ruled out a last-minute acquisition before the season opener.

LeMahieu setback scrambles Yankees’ calculus around Torres, Cabrera


Replacing LeMahieu’s consistent on-base presence at the top of the order is a crucial task for manager Aaron Boone. While LeMahieu was the preferred leadoff option, Boone will likely turn to Gleyber Torres against left-handed pitching and Alex Verdugo against righties.

Oswaldo Cabrera initially envisioned as a utility infielder, is now the frontrunner to fill the hole at third base. This creates a new need for a backup shortstop, possibly a first baseman as well. Jahmai Jones, previously considered for a utility role, may not be the ideal fit for these positions, potentially leading the Yankees to explore trades or signings in the coming days.

Despite a challenging season in 2023 and a slow start to camp, Cabrera has impressed the coaching staff in recent weeks. Boone highlighted Cabrera’s offensive growth, citing his improved quality of at-bats and consistent production. He’ll continue to be utilized as a switch hitter, with decisions on batting handedness made based on specific matchups.

While adjustments are necessary due to LeMahieu’s injury, Boone remains optimistic about Cabrera’s ability to contribute. The young infielder has earned the trust of the coaching staff and will be a key part of the Yankees’ plans for the upcoming season.

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