Yankees spring suffers the same sting from veteran sore spots

Giancarlo Stanton at the Yankees spring training camp in March 2024.

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Yankees veteran DJ LeMahieu, who will reach 36 in July, holds the title as the team’s oldest player and is entering the upcoming season following a subpar performance, marking his least productive year yet. Despite being a two-time batting champion, LeMahieu’s batting average dwindled to .243 throughout 136 games in the previous season.

Meanwhile, Yankees designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton, set to turn 35 in November, ranks as the team’s third-oldest player behind LeMahieu and Anthony Rizzo. Unfortunately, Stanton’s 2023 season proved to be even more disappointing than LeMahieu’s, as he managed to hit 24 home runs and tally 60 RBIs in just 101 games. However, his batting average of .191 and an OPS of .695 fell significantly short of Yankees expectations.

Both Yankees players have expressed optimism regarding their physical condition this spring, which is noteworthy considering their frequent injuries over the past few seasons. They believe that 2024 holds promise for improvement compared to the previous year. But things are far from that so far.

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Despite fresh start, Yankees vets’ burdens endure in the preseason

Despite their positive outlook, both LeMahieu and Stanton have struggled to find their rhythm in the initial weeks of Grapefruit League games, indicating the need for enhanced performance moving forward.

Yankees sluggers Giancarlo Stanton and DJ LeMahieu have gotten off to a slow start this spring training. In Wednesday’s 4-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, both players went 1-for-3 with a strikeout. This extends Stanton’s current slump to 1-for-13 at the plate, while LeMahieu is batting 1-for-12.

These recent struggles come on the heels of a disappointing season for both Yankees players in 2023. Given this context, Yankees manager Aaron Boone was asked by reporters on Thursday about his level of concern regarding their current form.

His answer was likely predictable. Boone responded with a simple “No.” What is the reason behind his lack of concern?

The Yankees skipper mentioned that he observed LeMahieu’s appearance to be quite good. Additionally, he noted that Stanton isn’t displaying signs of chasing pitches. He remarked that both players are focused on their process and are interested in refining specific aspects during the game, particularly Stanton.

Giancarlo Stanton, player of the Yankees
MLB

DJ LeMahieu’s first two at-bats against Rays pitcher Taj Bradley showcased his ability to make hard contact, even though they didn’t translate into hits. In the first inning, he grounded back to the pitcher at a scorching 102 mph, and in the second, he flew out to center field with an exit velocity of 92.4 mph. These were considered quality at-bats despite the lack of results. However, his third plate appearance against right-hander Joe Record, who has yet to see major league action, wasn’t as successful. LeMahieu struck out swinging on three pitches, with the final strike a tempting 94.4 mph fastball up and in the zone.

In contrast, Giancarlo Stanton had a rough outing at the plate. His first opportunity came leading off the second inning, where he popped out to second base on an 0-2 fastball thrown high out of the strike zone. Unfortunately, the Yankees DH wasn’t able to find his rhythm in any of his at-bats throughout the game.

But Boone remains confident

The slow running of Giancarlo Stanton deprived the Yankees of a run against the Astros on Aug 5, 2023, at Yankee Stadium.
NYP

Stanton’s early struggles at the plate extended into the fourth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays. Following singles by Anthony Rizzo and Gleyber Torres, the Yankees power hitter had a golden opportunity to drive in runs with one out. However, he struck out swinging on a 95.8-mph fastball thrown high and tight by right-hander Manuel Rodriguez, who has limited major league experience. Stanton did manage to foul off a tempting 1-2 slider that darted inside the zone before succumbing to the strikeout.

His next at-bat didn’t yield any better results. Facing another young right-hander in Colby White, Stanton flew out to right field.

While a single hit in 12 or 13 spring training at-bats wouldn’t be a cause for concern for established Yankees veterans like Stanton and LeMahieu in most years, their current struggles are magnified by their underwhelming performances last season. Despite these early hiccups, Yankees manager Boone remains optimistic. He expressed his confidence that both Stanton and LeMahieu will be ready to contribute significantly when the regular season kicks off on March 28th in Houston.

Boone mentioned that at present, both Yankees veterans seemed to be consistently reaching strong positions. He believes they are making progress in that regard.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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2 thoughts on “Yankees spring suffers the same sting from veteran sore spots

  1. Get rid of all 3. Boone is a Moronic Yes Man.
    Le Mahieu has been in Tampa since November- must have been the beach bc he certainly wasn’t in the batting cages. Stanton is absolutely DONE. His numbers are getting worse over the last 3 years. So he lost 20 lbs. coming into this year, didn’t help. He’s a BUM. Drop him now!!!!!

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