DJ LeMahieu is joining star sluggers Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton on the injured list, challenging the Yankees to continue calling upon their “Next Man Up” playbook from last season.
LeMahieu was placed on the 10-day IL on Sunday with a left thumb sprain, one day after the American League’s leading hitter exited Saturday’s 11-5 win over the Red Sox. In a corresponding move, the club recalled infielder/outfielder Miguel Andújar from their alternate site in Moosic, Pa.
“DJ can’t be replaced,” said left-hander James Paxton. “He’s awesome out there — great hitter, great in the field. He’s one of our best players. That being said, we’re very deep. I hope that it’s just something short.”
Lauded as the Yankees’ most valuable player last season, LeMahieu is batting an AL-best .411 (30-for-73) through 19 games, third in the Majors behind the Rockies’ Charlie Blackmon (.438) and the Giants’ Donovan Solano (.433).
The injury is believed to be similar to one that cost LeMahieu about two weeks with the Rockies in May 2018. LeMahieu’s injury figures to spell increased playing time at second base for Thairo Estrada and Tyler Wade.
“We’ve had a lot of adversity that keeps coming up,” said outfielder Clint Frazier. “You have guys that keep filling roles that maybe you didn’t know if that role was even going to come about unless a couple of things happen to get you there.”
LeMahieu winced in discomfort after swinging at a fourth-inning pitch from Boston starter Nathan Eovaldi. Boone and head athletic trainer Tim Lentych spoke to LeMahieu, who expressed a desire to remain in the game.