Folks, The Machine is back. Or will be soon, anyway. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic just reported that DJ LeMahieu will rejoin the Yankees in camp sometime this week. Joel Sherman of the Post immediately confirmed the report, so there you have it. It’s hard to imagine two more credible reporters, so we can all expect to see DJLM again soon. As a reminder, this means that LeMahieu meets the following three criteria:
- Tested negative on two separate COVID-19 tests taken more than 24 hours apart,
- Has not had a fever in 72 hours, and,
- Is not considered a risk to spread the virus to his teammates, as determined by a team physician, two doctors, and a non-medical rep from MLB and MLPBA.
We don’t know what “this week” means, but one has to imagine it will be in the next day or so. In terms of actual baseball, it would be good to for LeMahieu to participate in some intrasquad games and face live pitching before this weekend’s exhibitions against the Mets. Maybe that’s too soon and returning to camp means he’ll start hitting off a tee or whatever. I guess we’ll see. (For what it’s worth, testing positive doesn’t seem to have slowed down Aroldis Chapman any, so who knows.)
This is obviously good news for the Yankees. LeMahieu was a bonafide MVP candidate in 2019, hitting .327/.375/.518 (136 wRC+) and posting 5.4 fWAR. Inserting him into the lineup makes the Yankees that much better, and it means that guys like Thairo Estrada and Tyler Wade don’t have to play as big of a role. It seems like whatever regular season action LeMahieu misses – if any at all – will be minimal. That’s all very good.
Even better, though, is the fact that this means LeMahieu is doing well in terms of his health. Player health is obviously the top priority and it’s good to see LeMahieu respond so well. He first tested positive on July 4, which was just 11 days ago. That’s a pretty quick turnaround to rejoin camp. Good stuff.