LeMahieu (bruised right foot) will open season on IL

Rizzo returns to lineup on final day of Spring Training, should be good to go

March 25th, 2024

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Opening Day status of the Yankees’ corner infield starters gained clarity Monday. Third baseman won't be ready with a bruised right foot, while first baseman should play in Thursday's game in Houston against the Astros.

General manager Brian Cashman said before the Yankees' 3-0 Grapefruit League win over the Mets on Monday that LeMahieu will go on the injured list and get a second MRI. He added that Oswaldo Cabrera is a good candidate to start at third.

LeMahieu was hurt when he fouled a ball off his foot March 16.

“The last two days as he’s ramped up a little bit, it’s just been slow,” manager Aaron Boone said from Mexico City, where he was managing a split squad. “It’s not close to where it needs to be, so the timeline became inevitable.”

Boone said that LeMahieu is dealing with swelling in the foot and is scheduled to undergo the MRI on Friday. LeMahieu will remain behind in Tampa, and Boone said that he did not know if he might be ready for the April 5 home opener.

“Giving it time the last few days ... it hasn’t responded quick enough with the day coming," Cashman said. "So at this stage, he’s not going to be ready for Opening Day. We’re not officially IL-ing him today, but he won’t be able to start the season yet.

“Just a little bit of a slow go on the recovery. He banged it up pretty good.”

Aaron Mates, an orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeon from nearby Trinity, handled the first MRI.

“When he did the MRI and the CT scan, they were all negative,” said Cashman. “But the foot expert down here, Dr. Mates, stayed in touch and wanted it repeated two weeks later to get a better feel for where the inflammation was. I don’t think we’re repeating the CT scan, but we’re repeating the MRI.”

Cashman expressed confidence in Cabrera, who has had a productive two-plus weeks.

“He’s playing well," Cashman said. "He’s the best internal candidate so far. He’s done a nice job here.”

Rizzo (latissimus dorsi muscle) batted cleanup against the Mets for his first game action since being scratched Friday. He struck out looking in the first inning and lined out in the fourth as the Yankees' DH.

“Rizzo’s fine, no complaints,” said bench coach Brad Ausmus, serving as a split-squad manager with Boone handling the games in Mexico City. “He said before the game that he was sure he was 100 percent to go.”

Schmidt dazzles in final spring start
Yankees starter Clarke Schmidt pitched a strong game ahead of his first regular-season start Sunday against the Astros.

Schmidt blanked the Mets over five innings at George M. Steinbrenner Field as the Yankees closed out the Grapefruit League schedule with a 14-16-2 record. Schmidt allowed one hit and two walks while striking out six and throwing 68 pitches (42 strikes).

“I made a lot of improvements on my sinker in the offseason,” said Schmidt. “I made a lot of improvements on my command. I’ve always thrown a lot of strikes and not walked a lot of guys, but being able to put the ball where I want to this year has really taken a level up. I also improved the changeup, and feel we’re in a really good spot with that.”

Schmidt posted a 3.18 ERA and 1.00 WHIP with 19 strikeouts in 17 innings over five spring starts.

“I’d seen Clarke across the way from the other dugout,” said Ausmus, who was a bench coach for the A’s in 2022. “And he’s pitched fine. But I now have a real perspective on his stuff, and his stuff is really good now that I’m seeing it from behind at home plate and on the mound and watching him perform.”

Vivas injured
Jorbit Vivas was scratched from the starting lineup after suffering what the Yankees described as a “face contusion” during pregame warmups. Vivas did not have concussion symptoms. He was taken to a local hospital for examination. Ausmus did not have an update on Vivas after the game.

Beeter staying with Yankees
Right-hander Clayton Beeter, who posted a 3.18 ERA and 1.24 WHIP with 17 strikeouts in 17 innings over five spring games, could make his Major League debut with the Yankees in his home state of Texas.

“That’s big,” said Beeter, who played at Texas Tech and resides in Colleyville, Texas. “I’m really excited. I have a lot of family that are going to come down for sure.”

Beeter, the Yankees' No. 14 prospect per MLB Pipeline, didn’t get the nod as the fifth starter, which went to Luis Gil. But he is ready for bullpen work.

Ausmus said Beeter "pitched well" in his last outing Saturday against the Tigers: “A lot of swings and misses on his slider, velocity was good. Came out of the 'pen in the middle of an inning -- which was something we wanted to check off the list.”

“I just try to go there and get outs,” Beeter said. “I try to stay open to anything. I’ve pitched in the bullpen in the past. I like starting. I like throwing out of the bullpen. So whatever, really -- whatever I need to get out there.”

Beeter was 9-7 with a 3.62 ERA last year for Double-A Somerset and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Asked what he learned this spring, Beeter said: “My stuff is good enough. It’s hard to measure your stuff until you play against the people that are here. So I found I could trust myself and have a lot more confidence. … I just know I’m traveling to Houston.”

Jones earns Spring Training honor
Outfielder Spencer Jones received the 2024 James P. Dawson Award, given annually to the most outstanding Yankees rookie in Spring Training. The award is voted on by the club’s beat writers.

Jones, 22, the Yankees' No. 2 prospect, batted .444 with one homer, four RBIs and seven runs in 12 games. He also participated in the inaugural Spring Breakout game, going 3-for-4 with two homers and four RBIs on March 16. Jones was selected by New York in the first round (25th overall) of the 2022 MLB Draft out of Vanderbilt.