DJ LeMahieu was the first of the Yankees hitters out on the field for live batting practice Tuesday and one of the last to leave after traditional BP. After missing two weeks of camp, the Yankees second baseman is trying to get as many at-bats as he can in the last few hours before the MLB season opens Thursday in Washington, D.C.
“We’ll talk through that (tonight),” Yankee manager Aaron Boone said during the team’s final training camp workout at the Stadium. “We haven’t made a final decision on that.”
LeMahieu, who was only cleared to workout with the team on Friday after testing positive for the coronavirus about 10 days before training camp began, played four innings Sunday night and went 0-for-2 in the Yankees shutout of the Mets. Monday, Boone and Phillies manager Joe Girardi agreed to let LeMahieu stay in the lineup and hit after he came out of the game (he went 0-for-3 in that game).
LeMahieu said he suffered no symptoms of COVID-19 and was able to do some workouts while quarantined. Physically, he feels ready, but now it’s about approach and confidence.
“For me, it’s just going up there confident and with no excuses, nothing in the back of my mind, knowing I’m 100% ready to go,” LeMahieu said. “So, you don’t want those thoughts creeping in and you want to be up there competing and not thinking about mechanics and just going at 100%. And, you know, helping the team get wins.”
Top pitching prospect Clarke Schmidt was so impressive during the preseason he claimed the James P. Dobson award, given annually to the most outstanding Yankees rookie in spring training.
Schmidt, 24, made four official spring training appearances (one start), posting a 2.57 ERA with eight strikeouts. A first-round pick (16th overall) of the Yankees in 2017, Schmidt was given a prominent run in the rebooted spring training, facing the Yankees’ regular lineup in intrasquad games and live batting practice.
He spent time with Gerrit Cole, working on how to effectively use his two-seam fastball to go with what Baseball America called the best curveball in the organization, and picked up a lot of knowledge from the older pitchers in his first Major League spring training.
Most importantly, he learned he belongs in the big leagues.
“I also learned that I can compete at this level, I learned that I can get outs at this level,” Schmidt said after pitching live BP that included striking out LeMahieu after falling behind in the count. “You don’t really know how you’re going to fare until you get up here. And so I felt like I’ve fared very, very well. I felt very, very comfortable. I was not out of sorts at all, to me was just another baseball game in a bigger stadium.
“I felt a lot of good takeaways as far as being able to compete and get guys out this level,” Schmidt said. “I was happy to be able to be up here the whole time during camp and be able to compete with these guys day in and day out.”
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