NEW YORK -- The Yankees are hoping that "The Machine" can provide the spark that ends their skid, as DJ LeMahieu was activated from the 10-day injured list prior to Saturday’s game against the Mets.
LeMahieu was inserted into the lineup, batting leadoff and playing third base. The 32-year-old was leading the American League in hitting with a .411/.456/.534 slash line when he sustained a left thumb sprain on Aug. 15 against the Red Sox.
“His body of work speaks for itself,” manager Aaron Boone said. “He’s one of the best players in the game. He’s our catalyst. I’m excited to get him back in the lineup and write his name in that No. 1 spot.”
In a corresponding move, the Yankees optioned infielder/outfielder Miguel Andújar to their alternate training site in Moosic, Pa.
LeMahieu was at the alternate site Friday, where he hit on the field and took ground balls. Earlier in the week, he batted against a high-velocity pitching machine on the diamond at Yankee Stadium.
“The last week, the buildup has been really good, the work he’s been able to do,” Boone said. “I think he was confident in his head as of a couple of days ago that he was ready, but we wanted to make sure that he at least saw some live pitching.”
Saturday marked LeMahieu’s first game of the season at third base, starting in place of Gio Urshela, who did not play in Friday’s doubleheader and is day to day with a bone spur in his right elbow.
Urshela took ground balls on the infield grass on Saturday morning, and Boone said that he believes Urshela could return to the lineup during Sunday's doubleheader against the Mets.
Once in a lifetime
How bizarre was the Yankees’ Game 2 loss on Friday at Yankee Stadium, decided when Aroldis Chapman served up a walk-off homer to the Mets’ Amed Rosario? According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first walk-off win in an opponent’s ballpark since May 21, 1906, when the Phillies bested the Cardinals in a 1-0 contest at St. Louis’ Robison Field.
To find a game-ending homer by a visiting player, you must dig even further back. Before Rosario sent Chapman’s slider into the left-field seats, the last one was hit by the Cardinals’ Ed McKean against the Cleveland Spiders on May 12, 1899. No wonder Chapman didn’t realize the game was over, asking home-plate umpire David Rackley for a fresh baseball.
“There was definitely a bit of confusion there,” Chapman said through a translator. “It was weird, the moment that you realize you’re left on the field and it’s your home ballpark. Then you realize that you’re not really the home team. You take it and keep moving.”
Zack Britton (left hamstring strain) tossed 21 pitches in the bullpen on Friday and reported no issues. The left-hander also performed fielding drills, covering first base. He is scheduled to throw from a mound again on Sunday, then could be activated from the IL.
Gleyber Torres (left hamstring and left quadriceps strains) took ground balls and hit indoors on Saturday. Boone said that Torres is “doing really well, probably better than I would have anticipated,” but there is no set date for his return.
This date in Yankees history
Aug. 29, 1972: Bobby Murcer became the ninth Yankee to hit for the cycle, going 4-for-5 in a 7-6, 11-inning victory over the Rangers. Murcer completed the cycle with a solo home run in the ninth inning that tied the game.