BOSTON — A disappointing season for DJ LeMahieu has only gotten worse lately — and it doesn’t figure to get better anytime soon due to a hip/groin injury that could lead to offseason surgery.
LeMahieu was expected to be a stabilizing force in the Yankee lineup again this season after he was signed to a six-year, $90 million contract in the offseason.
Instead, he’s struggled for much of the season and been bothered for at least a few weeks by an unspecified injury that caused Aaron Boone to rest him in Saturday’s win over the Red Sox.
LeMahieu was back in the lineup and at third base on Sunday at Fenway Park, but both he and Boone acknowledged the injury is something he’ll have to deal with for the rest of the season — as long as it lasts.
“It’s mostly something I’ll worry about after the season,’’ LeMahieu said.
Asked if it could be something that required surgery, LeMahieu said, “Not sure yet.”
He’s had an MRI exam and the results are still being discussed. The best remedy at this point might be rest, which is something LeMahieu and the Yankees can’t afford, as they fight for a wild-card spot.
The discomfort impacts LeMahieu’s ability to move around and it’s something that’s bothered him “for a little while.”
“The discomfort [has been there] for a while,’’ LeMahieu said. “The last few weeks it hasn’t felt great.”
And while it limits him, LeMahieu has remained a constant in the lineup, most recently at third base, having moved there after Gleyber Torres was shifted from shortstop to second base and Gio Urshela to short.
LeMahieu also dealt with an injured triceps earlier in the season that made it more difficult for him to play third base, but he’s fared adequately defensively.
At the plate, though, LeMahieu has been far off what he displayed in his first two seasons in The Bronx.
And he’s been less productive lately. Going into Sunday’s game, LeMahieu was 22-for-79 in September with just two extra-base hits, four RBIs, 11 walks and nine strikeouts — with an OPS of .688.
On the season, LeMahieu’s OPS is .711, a stunning drop-off from his OPS of 1.011 in 2020’s COVID-shortened season and far off his mark of .893 in his first full season with the Yankees.
For context, LeMahieu’s OPS-plus is just 98, which means he’s been below-average offensively this season.
He’ll continue to get opportunities to try to turn it around, though his physical issues will likely make that more difficult.
“I think it’s something he’ll just deal with the rest of the season and hope we manage it well,’’ Boone said. “It impacts him a little bit overall … I don’t want to get into it too much.”
Asked if he was “confident’’ it was something LeMahieu could play through successfully, Boone said, “We’ll see. We’ll see. I’m confident he’s about as tough as they come. And I know he can play through things. He’s done that and showed that and proved that to us the last few seasons with us. He can navigate through stretches where he’s a little beat up and this is another one of those. I’m confident he can tolerate and he can manage not being 100 percent and still play really well.”
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