Yankees Injury update: Rizzo back on track for opener, LeMahieu lagging behind

The Yankees are in action during a 2024 spring training game at George M. Steinbrenner Field, Tampa.

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New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone provided updates on two key infielders sidelined by injury – Anthony Rizzo and DJ LeMahieu – painting a contrasting picture for their respective returns.

The news for first baseman Rizzo was encouraging. Despite a recent lat tightness that caused a brief shutdown, Boone expects him to be ready for the Yankees’ season opener against the Houston Astros on Thursday. He even hinted at the possibility of Rizzo playing in Monday’s spring training finale in Tampa, though cautioned against rushing him back. Ultimately, Boone expressed confidence in Rizzo’s availability for Opening Day, regardless of his participation in Monday’s game.

Yankees third baseman Anthony Rizzo.

However, the outlook for LeMahieu, battling a bruised right foot, was less optimistic. Boone revealed that LeMahieu’s recovery wasn’t progressing as quickly as anticipated, despite additional activities on Sunday. This casts doubt on his availability for Opening Day, with the likelihood decreasing as time goes on. Boone emphasized that LeMahieu’s status hinges on daily progress, leaving his Opening Day participation uncertain.

“DJ’s still not there,” Boone said, “Did some more things today, but still pretty sore dealing with it. He’s probably a little more of a long shot for Opening Day, but we’ll see. As days go off the calendar, it just depends how he improves each and every day.”

This contrasting news creates some uncertainty for the Yankees‘ infield heading into the regular season. While Rizzo’s return appears on track, LeMahieu’s status remains in question. The Yankees will monitor his progress closely in the coming days to determine his availability for the crucial season opener.

Yankees may look to Cabrera as LeMahieu’s status uncertain

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While DJ LeMahieu’s participation in the season opener remains in question, New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone indicated he might not necessarily begin the year on the 10-day injured list.

Boone acknowledged the complexity of the situation. If LeMahieu’s recovery only requires a few additional days, delaying a decision on the IL placement could be an option. He emphasized that the Yankees have a few more days to evaluate LeMahieu’s progress before determining the most appropriate course of action. With the season opener just four days away, a clear picture will emerge soon.

LeMahieu was originally slated to travel with the team for their split-squad games in Mexico City. However, after fouling a pitch off his foot on March 16th, his plans were disrupted. Oswaldo Cabrera filled LeMahieu’s spot on the trip and started at third base.

Cabrera, a versatile player comfortable at all positions except pitcher and catcher, could become the primary candidate for the starting third baseman role if LeMahieu isn’t ready by Opening Day. Although Cabrera had a slow start to spring training, he has shown significant improvement over the past couple of weeks.

“I have confidence in Oswaldo,” Boone declared, acknowledging Cabrera’s potential to step up in LeMahieu’s absence.

The Yankees are carefully monitoring LeMahieu’s recovery, and the next four days will be crucial in determining his availability for Opening Day. If LeMahieu is unable to play, Cabrera’s recent improvement and defensive versatility make him a strong contender to fill the void at third base.

Stroman shines in spring finale, Jones makes case for bench spot

Marcus Stroman capped off his inaugural spring training with the Yankees in triumphant fashion, exuding confidence after a dominant six-inning outing against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He stifled the Pirates’ offense, allowing no runs on just four hits and two walks while striking out five batters.
Stroman’s stellar performance concludes his Grapefruit League campaign on a high note. Over his six exhibition starts, he compiled an impressive 2.61 ERA, showcasing his readiness for the regular season grind.

Yankees pitcher Marcus Stroman
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Despite emerging victorious, the Yankees’ offense found runs hard to come by, mustering only four hits in the contest. However, Jahmai Jones provided the spark they needed with a crucial double to left field. This clutch hit drove in Josh VanMeter, who himself had reached on a double off Pirates closer David Bednar in the right-field corner. This singular run proved to be the game-winner.
Jones’ performance continues his strong showing throughout the exhibition season. He currently boasts a solid .296 batting average and a remarkable .960 OPS, further strengthening his case for a coveted spot on the Yankees’ bench.

Boone Addresses Mexico City Media, Announces Gil for Rotation Spot

Luis Gill of the Yankees in action against the Tigers on Feb. 24, 2024, at Tampa.

New York Yankees skipper Aaron Boone held a press conference with reporters in Mexico City on Sunday, flanked by team interpreter Marlin Abreu. The room buzzed with anticipation as local media eagerly raised their hands, eager to grill the manager before the exhibition matchups against the Diablos Rojos.

The atmosphere took a lighthearted turn at one point. Boone, known for his detailed explanations, launched into a lengthy response to a query. Abreu, diligently jotting down notes, could be seen battling to capture every nuance for an accurate Spanish translation, prompting a wave of laughter in the room.

Yankees media relations director Jason Zillo playfully chimed in, reminding Boone with a smile that concise answers were appreciated, although the manager’s natural inclination seemed to favor a more thorough approach.

After approximately 20 minutes, Boone excused himself and addressed a smaller group of Yankees beat writers who had traveled for the games. This is where the real news emerged. Boone revealed that “Lil Gil,” the affectionate nickname for Luis Gil, would be stepping into the Yankees’ rotation to fill the void left by injured ace Gerrit Cole.

While Will Warren had been in the running until the very end, Gil’s consistent excellence throughout the exhibition season ultimately swayed the decision. Additionally, his presence on the active 40-man roster and previous major league experience solidified him as the most logical choice.

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