As expected, the Yankees placed DJ LeMahieu on the 10-day IL after the star second baseman suffered an injury while swinging during last night’s win over the Red Sox. The Yankees are calling the injury a “left thumb sprain”, for what it’s worth. X-rays were negative last night, though LeMahieu did go to the hospital for an MRI. We don’t know the results of those just yet.
Let’s not mince words: this is a huge loss for the Yankees. LeMahieu, of course, is hitting .411/.456/.534 (177 wRC+) on the young season and is one of the Yankees’ best players. He is also the 3rd MVP candidate to go on the shelf this week for the Yankees, following Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge. (This is the 49th IL stint for a Yankee player since 2019, which is just baffling and infuriating. Gleyber Torres, knock on wood, is the only Yankee position player to avoid such a fate over that time.)
This is not the first time LeMahieu has sprained his left thumb. It also happened in 2018, when he was still in Colorado. The injury was the same: he suffered the sprain while swinging. He was out of commission for 17 days (15 games from May 14 to June 1) before returning to action for the Rockies and going 4-5 in his first game back. LeMahieu hit .275 overall for the rest of the year.
LeMahieu told Aaron Boone last night that this injury felt “similar” to that one. Four players went on the IL for this injury in 2019, missing between 8 and 18 games. Let’s hope this injury is no worse than any of those. I immediately thought about Stanton’s hamate bone fracture in 2015 or Jose Bautista’s wrist injury when this happened. In other words, assuming that this is actually a thumb sprain, this is much better than it could have been.
Miguel Andújar is the replacement call up. The Yankees optioned him down to the Alternate Site 11 days ago, so they haven’t finagled another year of team control just yet. (He needs 13 days down for that to happen.)
It remains to be seen how much Andújar will play. Hopefully, they find a way to get his dynamic bat in the lineup. I’d consider using him at 2B, where they can hide his defense a bit. Another option is to shift Urshela to 2B and use Miggy at 3rd. They could then move everyone around after replacing Miggy for defense in late innings of close games.
Miguel Andújar, Tyler Wade, and Thairo Estrada are the Next Men Up™. It’s only been half a week, but Clint Frazier isn’t the next man up anymore. I don’t know about you, but I’m getting pretty damn sick of that storyline already.