Yankees to activate LeMahieu on Friday against Orioles

DJ LeMahieu
Michael Bennington
Friday September 30, 2022

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This coming weekend in The Bronx, almost all of the focus will be on Aaron Judge as he attempts to hit home run number 62. In the shadow, there is good news for fans. DJ LeMahieu is expected to come off the injured list on Friday and play against the Orioles.

This will give the Yankees a chance to see if he can at least play like he did before a toe problem slowed down his swing for about a month and sent him to the injured list. New York’s chances of making it to the playoffs may depend more on how LeMahieu hits when he comes back from the injured list.

Before deciding whether or not to include the infielder on their roster for the American League Division Series, the Yankees need to see what they have in LeMahieu over the course of the final seven games of the regular season. It is not anticipated that the 34-year-old will be at his full capacity for the remainder of the season.

Before LeMahieu was placed on the injured list at the beginning of this month, he had played in 20 games during which he had a batting average of just 10-for-78 (.128) and had not collected any hits that went for extra bases. Because of the pain in his toe, he was unable to rotate completely on his back (right) foot while he was at the plate, and the consequences of this were clear to see.

The previous week, LeMahieu stated that if he was unable to perfect his swing, it was useless to return. In the meantime, he has been upping the level of the batting practice by considering different scenarios. His success in that is the only thing that will serve as a true test of what he is capable of during actual at-bats.

Rookie shortstop Oswald Peraza made a rare start on Wednesday night and collected two hits along with his first career run batted in. However, the Yankees may rethink on him if they want to create places on their 28-man roster.

If LeMahieu turns out to be good, New York will have a task to decide not only who will be on their playoff team but also who will be in their starting lineup.

If LeMahieu were to return, the Yankees would have five infielders competing for four positions. This conundrum was eased earlier in the season when the Yankees gave each infielder the occasional day off and had Giancarlo Stanton play in the outfield to make room for the designated hitter position. Stanton has not played in the outfield since he was diagnosed with Achilles tendinitis. However, manager Aaron Boone stated on Wednesday that Stanton’s return to the outfield is “not in the mix” at this time.

The Yankees are concentrating their efforts more on improving Stanton’s performance at the plate. In the 26 games he has played since returning from the disabled list, his batting average is just 14-for-96 (.146), he has four home runs, a .522 OPS, and he has struck out 40 times.

Can LeMahieu return to his pre-injury level and show his true capability?

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