BOSTON – In DJ LeMahieu’s view, this is no time to miss games, even with a unspecified hip/groin issue. So the Yankees infielder doesn’t plan to.
LeMahieu returned to the Yankees’ lineup for Sunday’s series finale against the Red Sox, having informed manager Aaron Boone that he felt “good to go” after resting during Saturday’s 5-3 New York victory. LeMahieu did not reveal specifics about the injury, saying that it is something he plans to manage.
“I just told them, ‘Let’s worry about it after the season,’” LeMahieu said. “There has been discomfort for a while. But I feel like the last few weeks, it just hasn’t felt right.”
LeMahieu, who recently shifted from second base to third base, said that he has undergone an MRI but declined to say what it showed. He is not sure if the issue will require surgery.
“I’m not moving as quickly -- not that I’m the quickest out there,” LeMahieu said. “It’s limiting a little bit, but it’s not the time in the season to be resting it a bunch. We’re just going to keep rolling with it.”
LeMahieu was the Yankees’ most valuable player over the past two seasons, but his offensive numbers have dipped this season. LeMahieu entered Sunday batting .268/.349/.363 with 10 homers and 56 RBIs in 146 games.
“I'm confident that he's about as tough as they come,” Boone said. “I'm confident that he can manage and tolerate not being at 100 percent and still play really well.”
'Tough call' at first
The Yankees are not using a straight lefty-righty platoon at first base. With the Red Sox starting left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, the left-handed Anthony Rizzo was in Sunday’s lineup instead of the right-handed Luke Voit. Boone said that it “was a tough call.”
“It’s certainly a case for [Voit] to be in there,” Boone said. “That was probably the biggest thing that I slept on and wrestled with most of the day. I just decided this was the way I wanted to go.”
Past performance would have seemed to lean in Voit’s favor. Voit entered Sunday 5-for-13 (.385) with three doubles and a homer in his career against Rodriguez, while Rizzo was 0-for-2. But Rizzo does provide a better glove at first base.
“Luke hasn’t played a lot in the last four or five games,” Boone said. “Overall, he’s been having pretty good at-bats.”
Brett Gardner is saving his best for last. The longest-tenured Yankee entered play on Sunday batting .300/.382/.567 (18-for-60) with five doubles, three homers and 10 RBIs over his last 17 starts since Sept. 6.
“I do feel like his best plays certainly have come at this time of the year,” Boone said. “For a veteran player that has the kind of experience he has, these games take on a little more meaning late in the year -- a lot more on the line, a lot more at stake. It seems like a lot more urgency. I think just his experience, grit and toughness has played a part in that.”
• Infielder Andrew Velazquez was on the field for pregame workouts on Sunday. Velazquez has joined the Yanks’ taxi squad, a just-in-case nod to LeMahieu’s injury situation.
• Sunday marked right-hander Albert Abreu’s 26th birthday (Sept. 26, 1995).
This date in Yankees history
Sept. 26, 1961: Roger Maris hit his 60th home run of the season off the Orioles’ Jack Fisher in a 3-2 Yankees win, tying Babe Ruth’s Major League record.