DJ LeMahieu reports to spring training ‘excited’, says foot is fully healed
Yankees infielder DJ LeMahieu reported to spring training in good spirits and full health after missing the 2022 postseason due to a toe injury.
LeMahieu decided not to get offseason surgery for the inflammation in his right big/second toe that plagued the infielder in the second half of the 2022 season. The recovery plan has LeMahieu feeling “100 percent” and he said he’s “excited” to be around his teammates again.
“I’m so excited where I’m at right now,” LeMahieu said Sunday morning at the team’s spring training facility. “How the season ended for me last year and our team and just where I’m at physically and mentally and to be back. I feel like I’m in a really good place and really excited to be around the guys again.”
LeMahieu’s toe injury forced the Yankees to be without his contact bat for the second straight postseason. In 2021, the two-time Silver Slugger award winner ended his season on the injured list and underwent surgery for a core muscle injury. The Yankees missed his production the past two postseasons as the team suffered a 6-2 loss in the American League Wild Card Game against the Boston Red Sox and were swept by the Houston Astros in last season’s ALCS.
The infielder made a push to convince manager Aaron Boone to make last season’s playoff roster, but LeMahieu’s performance at the plate was hampered by the toe inflammation. Boone monitored LeMahieu when he came back to play five of the final six regular season games. After watching LeMahieu hit 4-for-16 with no extra-base hits, two walks and a strikeout in those five games, the manager decided to leave him off the postseason roster.
But on Sunday, the manager praised LeMahieu on how far he’s come since last season’s disappointing end.
“I’m really excited about where DJ’s at,” Boone said. “[It’s] something we’re always paying close attention to, but he’s been in a pretty good spot now for a while. He’s been down here for a while. He looks really good; he’s moving really well. It’s obviously something we have to always pay attention to with him and be mindful of, but pretty encouraged about where he’s at right now.”
LeMahieu, who turns 35 in July, spoke about making adjustments to ensure he stays healthy.
“When you’re banged up, don’t feel like yourself, it’s frustrating, and I’m excited where I’m at,” said LeMahieu. “I have to really make sure that physically ... I can’t just go out and take a thousand swings every day or a thousand ground balls and call it a day. I really have to make sure that I’m physically ready to go every single day for the whole season. Nothing changes, that’s always the mindset, but probably spending more time making sure I can be on the field and be myself rather than making sure my swing is right.”
With the Yankees keeping their MVP Aaron Judge and signing Carlos Rodon, the team is positioned to make a run in the postseason. LeMahieu said missing last season’s playoffs provides “motivation” and hopes to stay on the field to help his team this fall.
“That’s the worst feeling. Just kind of gives you motivation to do everything I can to stay on the field and be myself,” LeMahieu said. “I’m used to playing through stuff my whole career. But it was so limiting that I couldn’t be myself, and that was extremely frustrating.”
With the Yankees still solidifying their infield and figuring out a solid role for second baseman Gleyber Torres, LeMahieu is open to playing multiple positions.
“I’m excited. I like bouncing around. Kind of the same role I’ve had the last few years here. I really like playing different positions and moving around and I think it fits my skill set well and also our team as well,” he said.