DJ LeMahieu’s Yankees back in doubt after latest injury update


Time is running out for DJ LeMahieu’s potential return to the Yankees roster.

After initially hoping to return from the injured list during this homestand, LeMahieu was once again limited to taking ground balls to third base and a less than full batting practice Friday at Yankee Stadium.

And while he said he was feeling better, two weeks from landing on the 10-day IL with inflammation in his second right toe, LeMahieu also said on Friday he could not play in his current physical condition.

« It’s been two weeks, it’s a little better, » LeMahieu said before the Yankees beat the Red Sox, 5-4. “We have a week and a half left in the season. So I don’t want to just shut it down and have to start over. So I stay as prepared as possible without being stupid. I don’t think at this point it’s really going to go away. It’s just, stay ready and tell them how I feel. I will be ready to go whenever that day comes.

Although manager Aaron Boone has said next week’s three-game series in Toronto will be « a possibility » for LeMahieu, it’s still unclear if there will be a sink or swim moment for the veteran. After Friday, the Yankees had 12 games left in the regular season and then a likely five-day layoff before the start of the ALDS.

DJ Lemahieu
Corey Sipkins

Boone said earlier this week that once the Yankees « drop it » with LeMahieu, « then you start the breakdown. » The Yankees were still figuring out when to start that potential clock, though LeMahieu said he thinks he’ll need to be at bat to some extent before heading into a playoff series.

The Yankees could try to get LeMahieu at bat in mock games between the end of the regular season and the start of the playoffs. But Boone said « it’s possible » LeMahieu will have a finite number of at-bats on his return.

« But that’s the big unknown, » Boone said Friday. “That’s what I keep saying about it. It was a really difficult injury to move our arms. What treatments can we do, if and when you can get a shot, things like that. We will see. »

Boone said LeMahieu was not scheduled to receive another cortisone injection — which he received during the All-Star break — but hinted at other injections that could help relieve pain periodically.

LeMahieu can be a hard-hitting hitter for the Yankees when healthy, but the toe injury clearly hampered him when he tried to play before landing on IL. In his last 20 games since the toe problem began to reappear in mid-August, the 34-year-old was hitting just 10 for 78 (.128) with no extra hits.

“Most importantly, if I can’t get my momentum going, then I’m kind of useless,” LeMahieu said.

LeMahieu didn’t play in the AL’s loss to the Red Sox last year due to a sports hernia that required surgery. When asked if his current toe injury would require off-season surgery, LeMahieu said he didn’t think so, but added: « We’re just trying to get through the season and then reevaluate after that. . »

In the meantime, the waiting game continued as to when LeMahieu might be able to pull out all the stops to strike and really test his lingering toe injury.

« I’m going to keep doing as much baseball activity as I can and go from there, » LeMahieu said. “The trainers do a great job. Just talk about it, help me…. I feel like I’m in there three or four hours a day, stuff at home, everything. So we’re putting everything we can into it and moving forward as we can.


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