DJ cleared for camp, questionable for opener

July 19th, 2020

NEW YORK -- returned to his Michigan home in June, intending to spend a few summer evenings chatting on the porch with his father, Tom. Before that reunion, the Yankees infielder opted for a precautionary coronavirus test, saying that he was “shocked” when the results came back as positive.

“I didn't really have any symptoms,” LeMahieu said on Saturday. “I'm very surprised I tested positive. I was lucky; I wasn't really in contact with hardly anyone. When I got the news, I really didn't do a whole lot. I just kind of hung out and tried to get those negative tests to get back here soon as I could.”

LeMahieu estimated that he needed to take 11 or 12 tests over a span of two to three weeks before receiving the required two negative results, which came at least 24 hours apart. LeMahieu said that he resumed hitting off a tee prior to his arrival at Summer Camp this week, and as he continues to increase his on-field activity, the 32-year-old infielder believes he could be ready for Opening Day on Thursday against the Nationals.

“I think it's a possibility,” said LeMahieu, who worked out at Yankee Stadium on Saturday. “I don't know if it's realistic or not. … I think I'm going to be pretty close. If it's not Opening Day, it'll definitely be the first few games. We'll see how these next few days go. For me, it's just going to be the live at-bats; the more I can get, the more ready I'll be.”

Yankees manager Aaron Boone said the team has organized a schedule for LeMahieu’s activity, and he is not being ruled out for Opening Day. Boone’s largest concern will be LeMahieu’s ability to play the field for nine innings on consecutive days, though LeMahieu said that the additional time he spent at the team’s complex in Tampa, Fla., could pay dividends there.

“Nothing surprises me anymore in 2020, that's for sure,” Boone said. “Look, I don't worry about DJ as far as being up to speed and being able to get in and be competitive right away. My biggest thing is making sure that he's in a safe position to do it and really getting a good read and evaluation about where he is from his legs, how his stamina is, how his endurance is.”

Prior to reporting for Summer Camp, LeMahieu said he and his father did finally get those desired nights on the porch. LeMahieu added that his wife, Jordan, also tested negative three times.

“I'm glad I wasn't hanging out with a bunch of people while I did test positive,” LeMahieu said. “I was cautious. … It’s definitely a scary thing when you have something that there's no cure for, but after those first few days, I was feeling fine. I had so much support from my teammates and family, and after a couple weeks, I was ready to go again. I couldn't be more excited to be back.”

Change of venue
After more than two weeks holding Summer Camp workouts at Yankee Stadium, Boone said he experienced a surge of adrenaline steering his vehicle toward Citi Field on Saturday afternoon, bench coach Carlos Mendoza riding shotgun as the club prepared for its first game against an opponent since March 12 in West Palm Beach, Fla.

“It was very cool walking into Tom Seaver [Way] and walking into the park, knowing we're playing another team,” Boone said, “but I think it is a little different than what Opening Day will be like.”

Upon their arrival, the Yankees’ players discovered surroundings that have changed markedly since the last Subway Series game played here -- good practice for what they will experience prior to the July 23 opener at Nationals Park in Washington.

“It's going to be different, keeping the distance,” said third baseman Gio Urshela. “We are here in the same locker room, but I'm going to be a little bit separate from the other lockers. … It's an exciting moment to play in a ballpark besides Yankee Stadium. I feel like I'm excited to play finally against another team.”

Roster moves
Following Saturday night's game, the Yankees reassigned right-hander Albert Abreu, infielder Kyle Holder and catcher Josh Thole to the club's alternate training site in Moosic, Pa.

Bombers bits
• Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka (concussion) is scheduled to toss from the bullpen mound on Sunday, his second time doing so since being struck by a liner on July 4. Tanaka's next step would be to face hitters, Boone confirmed.

• Holder underwent “a battery of tests,” according to Boone, after reporting discomfort in his left stomach and hip region while swinging the bat on Friday.

Up next
The Yankees will be back in the Bronx on Sunday, hosting the Mets for a 7:05 p.m. ET exhibition game. Left-hander Jordan Montgomery will draw the start for the Yanks, opposed by right-hander Corey Oswalt. The game will be televised on YES and broadcast on WFAN. Watch it live on MLB.TV and MLB Network.