October 6, 2022

DJ LeMahieu sits out third straight game because of toe issue, leaving Yankees shorthanded again

DJ LeMahieu could head to IL soon if toe doesn’t feel better. (Jeff Roberson/AP)

The Yankees were short again Tuesday. They were without DJ LeMahieu for the third straight game as the infielder was seeking a second opinion on how to deal with the inflammation in his right big toe, which was causing him discomfort when he swung a bat.

The Bombers gamble that playing shorthanded will be better than losing players for the full 10 days on the injured list. That is amplified when the team is going through a stretch like this, having lost 10 of their last 12 games and being shut out in back-to-back games for the first time since 2016.

Aaron Boone said they could make a roster move soon if LeMahieu isn’t ready.

“We’ll probably make that decision sometime tomorrow or the next day. It’s beneficial to take the next seven days or so (off) or we’re ready to go,” the Yankees manager said. “So I really don’t have to lean either way on it. Other than holding out some hope that he can be in there more.”

In the last 11 games, including Tuesday, the Yankees have played shorthanded eight times because of Anthony Rizzo’s back and LeMahieu’s toe. In that span the Bombers have gone 2-8.

LeMahieu had been dealing with the toe for a while. He had a cortisone shot at the All-Star break, but has felt the discomfort come back in the last week.

“He’s kind of waiting for a second opinion. Talking to him today, it does feel like the last couple of days being down has helped him,” Boone said. “So I’m hopeful for tomorrow. But we’ll see.”

Rizzo missed the series in St. Louis and the first two games in Seattle with lower-back tightness.

STANTON STATUS

Giancarlo Stanton was on the field working out again before Tuesday’s game and the Yankees have been encouraged by how he has bounced back. The slugger said on Monday he needed a few more days of work followed by a good “bounce back” before he was ready to start a rehab assignment.

Boone said Tuesday that would be soon.

“I would expect in the next couple of days,” Boone said.

Stanton said he wants the “least amount,” of rehab games possible, so it is realistic to think that if everything continues to go smoothly he would be back in the Yankees lineup sometime next week.

BADER PROGRESS

Harrison Bader has spent two days working out in the pool and on the AlterG anti-gravity treadmill. The center-fielder, who the Yankees traded Jordan Montgomery for at the deadline, came to the Yankees in a walking boot that he has been in since getting a cortisone shot July 27 trying to eliminate the plantar fasciitis that has had him off the field since June 26.

“It’s definitely been a challenge. Walking in here in a boot, I’m sure everybody in here was like, ‘We just traded for this guy in a boot. Are we serious?’ But there’s always a bigger perspective involved and I think that I’m definitely here for a reason,” Bader said. “So I’m just focused on getting healthy so I can be effective for this team.”

Bader, a native of New York City who went to Riverdale’s Horace Mann High School,  said it’s been difficult coming to a new team without being able to play. He said having former Cardinal teammate Matt Carpenter here has helped.

“I wouldn’t say excruciating. Again, you’ve got to keep that perspective. At the end of the day I’m still healthy and surrounded by people that want to help me. I’m back in New York, surrounded by my family and people who love me. There are far worse things that could have happened, even just outside this game. From a professional standpoint, it is very difficult, but it’s nothing that I can’t overcome,” Bader said. “But there’s a process involved and I’ve learned a lot and I’ve educated myself a lot on how to take care of my feet specifically, which I don’t think I necessarily took for granted for but now you just learn something new. So I’m just looking forward to just applying all the information so I can make sure this never happens again because it has been very debilitating.

“But once you get healthy, it’s off to the races.”