The number of Yankees on the injured list continues to grow, except this time the latest addition felt inevitable. The Yankees officially announced that they were placing DJ LeMahieu on the 10-day IL with the toe injury that has plagued their infielder for at least a month.
The placement is retroactive to September 5th, so the earliest he could return would be the Yankees’ series opener at Milwaukee September 16th. In a corresponding move, New York recalled Miguel Andújar from Triple-A while also activating Nestor Cortes for tonight’s game; Deivi García’s brief promotion lasted just one day.
Andújar was already with the team after being called up as the 29th man for the doubleheader. He was officially returned to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre following the game, but remained with the major league team, and now we know why.
Prior to tonight’s game, the Yankees made the following roster moves:— Yankees PR Dept. (@YankeesPR) September 8, 2022
•Reinstated LHP Nestor Cortes (#65) from the 15-day IL
•Placed INF DJ LeMahieu on the 10-day IL (retroactive to 9/5) with right second toe inflammation
•Recalled INF/OF Miguel Andújar (#41) from Triple-A SWB
LeMahieu joins a laundry list of Bombers already on the IL, including Anthony Rizzo and Andrew Benintendi. He had been dealing with this toe injury since at least August 9th (and likely earlier than that), and the offensive production was clearly suffering with a -13 wRC+ in 20 games dating back to that night’s contest against the Mariners. It’s not the first time we’ve seen LeMahieu’s performance dip while trying to play through an injury, and this stint on the IL could prove a blessing in disguise if the toe manages to heal some.
In the meantime, the Yankees will try to piece together their infield alignment while three of their starters are absent (LeMahieu and Rizzo on IL, Josh Donaldson on paternity leave). Andújar, Ronald Guzmán, and Marwin Gonzalez are all options to play first, with Gonzalez apparently emerging as the Yankees’ preferred choice. Although none of the trio have hit, Gonzalez’s 81 wRC+ and league-average defense at first are far more palatable than Andújar’s 39 wRC+ and Guzmán high-strikeout profile.
Elsewhere around the infield, this likely cements the trio of Gleyber Torres at second, Oswald Peraza at short, and Isiah-Kiner Falefa at third at least until the weekend (when Donaldson is expected to return). Further reps at short with the big league team could prove invaluable for Peraza, already the owner of a 121 wRC+ in his limited action so far. Additionally, we’ve seen how comfort at a defensive position can translate into production at the plate, so keeping Kiner-Falefa at his far more natural position of third might give the Yankees additional value.