Yankees place DJ LeMahieu on 60-day IL to open roster spot for Smith

Yankees put DJ Lemahieu on 60-day IL

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The New York Yankees’ injury situation took an unexpected turn on Saturday afternoon. While confirming the anticipated placement of Nick Burdi and Jon Berti on the injured list, the team also made a surprising announcement regarding DJ LeMahieu.

LeMahieu, sidelined due to a non-displaced fracture in his right foot, received an unexpected transfer to the 60-day injured list. Nonetheless, Bryan Hoch and Erik Boland suggest this is merely a “bookkeeping move,” hinting at the potential for his activation during the Angels series.

Whether LeMahieu’s return remains uncertain or not, this move aligned with earlier reports from the New York Daily News suggesting the Yankees weren’t planning on an imminent activation for LeMahieu.

DJ LeMahieu outlines the Yankees’ conflicting moves

Yankees put DJ Lemahieu on 60-day IL

The news of LeMahieu’s status sent ripples through the Bronx. Just last week, the Yankees had outlined a plan for LeMahieu to make his 2024 debut on Tuesday against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim.

There’s a reason behind it, as reported by NJ.com. Third baseman DJ LeMahieu was shifted to the 60-day injured list to make room on the 40-man roster for Kevin Smith, but this doesn’t change his return timeline.

Is DJ LeMahieu nears to return?

DJ LeMahieu, who has been on the IL all season rehabbing a foot fracture from spring training, is slated to play rehab games with Scranton on Saturday and Sunday, before being activated for Tuesday night’s Yankees-Angels series opener in Anaheim, Calif. The Yankees have Monday off.

Yankees put DJ Lemahieu on 60-day IL but he can return on May 28, 2024

The Yankees didn’t consider ending DJ LeMahieu’s rehab assignment early to replace Berti, who is hitting .273 with a homer and five RBIs in 17 games, 15 of them starting at third.

Last week, when asked if LeMahieu’s status might be affected by the IL stint of recently acquired infielder Jon Berti, manager Aaron Boone definitively denied any plans for an early activation. Boone elaborated, stating:

“Assuming it’s an IL [for Berti], we’ll bring somebody else in for a couple of days. We want DJ to at least get his next two [rehab games] in on Saturday and Sunday in Scranton.” Boone said.

However, a week after this announcement, the Yankees seemingly contradicted Boone’s statement by transferring LeMahieu’s rehab assignment from High-A Hudson Valley to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Looking ahead

Yankees put DJ Lemahieu on 60-day IL

This development throws the Yankees’ infield depth into a state of flux. With LeMahieu’s return date now uncertain, the team faces a shortage of experienced infield options on their 40-man roster. The recent return of Oswald Peraza from a shoulder strain provides a glimmer of hope. Peraza, who possesses major league experience, could potentially fill the void left by LeMahieu’s absence. However, Peraza himself is coming off an injury and might need additional time to regain his full form.

The Yankees’ predicament is further complicated by the status of other infielders. Gleyber Torres, initially expected to miss significant time with a quad strain, has made a faster-than-anticipated recovery. However, it remains unclear if he’ll be fully healthy by Tuesday’s game. Additionally, with LeMahieu out and potentially Torres as well, the pressure falls on young infielders like Tyler Wade and Andres Chacon to step up and provide depth.

The Yankees remain tight-lipped regarding the specific reasons behind LeMahieu’s transfer to the IL. A week prior, manager Boone’s comments suggested the team wants LeMahieu to participate in additional rehab games, hinting that his recovery wasn’t progressing as quickly as initially anticipated. This uncertainty surrounding LeMahieu’s status creates a cloud of concern for the Yankees, who are already grappling with injuries in their pitching staff.

The Yankees will be hoping for a clearer picture on LeMahieu’s availability in the coming months. In the meantime, the team will need to find creative solutions to fill the void left by LeMahieu’s absence. The performance of young players like Peraza could be crucial in determining the Yankees’ success in the coming weeks.

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