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It’s no longer a secret that D.J. LeMahieu is the engine that drives that the Yankees’ offense.
Though acquiring LeMahieu before the 2019 offseason flew well under the radar compared to some of the Yankees’ other major moves in recent memory, the infielder who wasn’t even in the Yankees’ 2019 Opening Day lineup has become the foundation of their offense.
But LeMahieu had spent the last two weeks on the Injured List with a sprained left thumb, and the Bombers clearly missed his production, as the team went on a seven-game losing skid uncharacteristic since Aaron Boone took over as manager.
On Saturday, LeMahieu made his return to the lineup, playing at third base and leading off. He went 1-for-4 at the plate in the 2-1 win over the Mets, as his batting average sits at .403 on the season.
For LeMahieu, it was great just to be back on the field.
“I felt great today. Good to be out there,” LeMahieu said after the game. “Just a long couple weeks, I’m excited to be back.
After getting a few at-bats at the team’s Alternative Site in Scranton, LeMahieu said he was fully confident his thumb would be ready to go on Saturday.
“You just never know until you’re 100 percent major league speed, but (I wasn’t really concerned about how it would feel),” said LeMahieu. “I feel like I’ve been feeling good the last couple days, so like I said, it was just good to be out there.”
And the toughest part of the absence for the man who finished fourth in AL MVP was seeing the Yankees drop a week’s worth of games, including Friday’s doubleheader sweep at the hands of the Mets.
“I felt pretty close to game ready the last couple days, but you know it’s not necessarily up to me either,” LeMahieu said. “Kind of a rough stretch here, and to not be a part of it, it sucks just watching.”
But now the man they call The Machine is hopeful that he can put the injury behind him and focus on helping the Yankees return to the postseason.
“I’m good to go. I’m going to still work on it and ice it and do the things to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” LeMahieu said. “But mentally, physically, I’m good to go.”