Last season, the injury bug bit the New York Yankees pretty hard and infielder DJ LeMahieu was at the center of it. They ran away with the division in the first half but came crashing back down to earth due to poor performances and a host of key injuries.
LeMahieu's injury was one of the worst as it cost him the entire postseason. Giancarlo Stanton, Anthony Rizzo, Matt Carpenter, Luis Severino and others returned for the postseason after suffering injuries, but the infielder was unable to do so.
He struggled to end the year before landing on the injured list. There was hope he'd be able to return for the ALDS, but he didn't. When they outlasted the Cleveland Guardians and headed to Houston, there was hope again, but all for naught.
Dr. Deepak Chona, a renowned sports surgeon, told the Athletic that the injury was a very curious one:
“It does explain the performance dip. In the long term when people usually come back from this injury, they don’t tend to see a performance dip. It’s not a huge sample size because it’s not a common injury."
He then detailed what the Yankees' options were:
"You can continue trying non-operative treatment, meaning rest and trying to get the bone to heal. If it’s still not healing, you will move to a surgery. They still have some time to make their decision knowing surgery is still an option.”
They will have to decide quickly if they want to ensure he doesn't miss much time next season.
Where will DJ LeMahieu play next season?
The infielder was able to play at second base, first base and third base last season. The one infield position he doesn't really play, shortstop, is also the one the Yankees have the biggest hole at.
Assuming they keep Gleyber Torres, that puts a player in all of those positions, with Rizzo manning first and Josh Donaldson manning the hot corner.
That once again leaves LeMahieu without a solid position. Injuries happen and days off are necessary, so he'll find a way to play, but he may roll into Opening Day once more without a clear starting position.