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ST. PETERSBURG — DJ LeMahieu was back in the lineup Saturday. It was the first time he has played since Monday because of discomfort in his left wrist. The infielder had a cortisone shot on Tuesday and as late as Thursday evening there was a fear he may have to go on the injured list.
Instead, he went 1-for-4 with a double and a run scored on Saturday in the Yankees’ 3-1 loss to the Rays at Tropicana Field.
“It was good to be out there,” LeMahieu said. “I was excited.”
LeMahieu said there was no issue with his wrist while he played.
“Just a really good turn of events,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “About 36 hours ago, I was a little worried that we might need to do an IL stint and then [he] really felt good two nights ago. He was able to hit and then yesterday had a real normal day.
“So yeah, excited to get him back in there.”
LeMahieu came into the game hitting .250/.329/.375 with a .704 OPS, three homers and 17 RBI.
GALLO DROPS DOWN
Maybe dropping down to the last spot in the lineup will help Joey Gallo find his swing. That’s where the struggling slugger found himself in the starting lineup for Saturday’s game. It was the first time Gallo has been in the No. 9 spot in a starting lineup since 2017 with the Rangers. That was also the year he hit a career-high 41 home runs.
Gallo went 1-for-3 with a strikeout Saturday.
Boone argued that the No. 9 spot is not a demotion.
“The nine hole, if you’ve covered me you know, is a place I value. I think there’s a pretty good fit there, especially as you turn over the lineup when he’s going well, his ability to get on base. ... Just trying to space out our lineup a little bit in our lefties a little bit better,” Boone said before the game.
“I think maybe it’s a spot that he can potentially thrive in for us.”
Gallo snapped an 0-for-20 stretch with a single on Friday. Over his previous nine games, Gallo is 2-for-29 with his one hit being a home run. He slashed .069/.209/.172 with a .378 OPS. Overall this season, Gallo is hitting .168/.277/.310 with five home runs with 50 strikeouts in 113 at-bats.
ODD MAN OUT
Aaron Hicks, who missed the first two games of the series because of tightness in his right hamstring, was ready to play Saturday but not in the lineup by Boone’s choice.
“Just my decision there and, yeah, he’s ready to go and will probably be in there tomorrow,” Boone said.
Boone decided to pinch hit Hicks for Jose Trevino with two outs and Isiah Kiner-Falefa on in the eighth inning. Hicks struck out.
Hicks has struggled at the plate this season and is off to a .209/.338/.243 start with one home run and seven RBI in his first 39 games.
“We’ll just continue to work on getting that quality of contact going,” Boone said. “He’s still doing a pretty good job of controlling the zone. He was getting some traction there for a few days, so we just got to keep working with him and hopefully get him to that point to where he’s starting to really swing out like we know he’s capable of along with obviously his ability to get on base.”
Hicks had started to heat up in the last week before suffering the hamstring issue. He was hitting .278/.381/.278 over his last five games. He has also drawn 21 walks this season.
Tim Locastro (strained lat) was at the Yankees’ minor league facility on Saturday getting at-bats. He was facing Domingo German (shoulder impingement syndrome), who Boone said has been throwing live batting practice and will be sent out on a rehab assignment “soon.” ... Catcher Ben Rortvedt, acquired in the deal that brought Josh Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa to the Yankees and sent Gary Sanchez and Gio Urshela to the Twins, was at the ballpark on Friday walking without a brace after having surgery last week to repair a torn meniscus in his knee. Boone said he is on schedule. ... Zack Britton (Tommy John surgery) is expected to throw off a mound for the first time later next week, not Tuesday as initially thought. ... Aroldis Chapman (Achilles) is able to keep his arm working in rehab back in New York and Jonathan Loaisiga (shoulder) is still in a no-throw period of his rehab.