The Yankees are placing infielder DJ LeMahieu on the injured list with a sports hernia, according to manager Aaron Boone, as relayed by several reporters, including Marly Rivera of ESPN. LeMahieu last played September 30th, missing the past few games with the injury, meaning the soonest he could return to the club would be if they qualified for the ALCS. Right-handed pitcher Luis Gil is taking his spot on the active roster.
This is very unfortunate timing for the Yankees, as they are currently trying to wriggle out of a four-team logjam for the two American League Wild Card spots. They and the Red Sox are going into the final scheduled day of the season just one game ahead of the Blue Jays and Mariners in the standings. With the potential for various one-game tiebreakers and then the Wild Card game itself, each team will be taking an all-hands-on-deck approach in order to survive. Boone says, as relayed by Rivera in a separate tweet, that LeMahieu worked out today before the very late decision was made. Bryan Hoch of MLB.com quotes Boone as saying LeMahieu is “too compromised” to play right now.
It’s been a disappointing season for the 33-year-old, perhaps because of the injury. In his first Yankees contract, over 2019 and 2020, LeMahieu hit an excellent .336/.386/.536, which amounts to a wRC+ of 146, all while having the versatility of playing multiple positions around the infield. On the heels of that excellent performance, the Yankees re-signed LeMahieu to a six-year, $90MM contract in the most recent offseason. Unfortunately, the first year of the deal has seen LeMahieu’s production drop off to a line of .268/.349/.362, a wRC+ of 100. Nevertheless, that league-average production being put on the shelf is still a loss for the club. Rougned Odor is slotting into third base for the Yanks today, and he has a 2021 slash line of .201/.286/.379, wRC+ of just 82.
As for Gil, he adds another arm to the Yankees’ stable at a time when they might need a lot of them over the next few days. In six starts at the big league level this year, he’s logged 29 1/3 innings with an ERA of 3.07. He’s likely to be used as a long-relief option, though, as Jameson Taillon is starting today’s game, with Gerrit Cole the planned starter for whatever game the Yankees play next, be that some kind of tie-breaker or the Wild Card game.