New York Yankees' lineup takes hit with DJ LeMahieu to IL

ByMarly Rivera ESPN logo
Monday, October 4, 2021

NEW YORK -- The Yankees suffered a major blow on the last day of the regular season, having to place versatile infielder DJ LeMahieu on the injured list Sunday.

A week ago, LeMahieu acknowledged that he had been dealing with unspecified discomfort in the hip/groin area and had to undergo an MRI. Manager Aaron Boone announced Saturday that LeMahieu had been diagnosed with a sports hernia and received a cortisone shot.

The Yankees had been hopeful that LeMahieu could continue managing the injury with treatment and rest, and even play Sunday's game. Nonetheless, Boone announced LeMahieu would be placed on the 10-day injured list after going through his pregame routine ahead of the regular-season finale against the Tampa Bay Rays.

"Went through some stuff this morning with him and just felt like he's just too compromised right now. He was willing to do whatever, if we would have wanted him to go out there. But I just feel like he's too compromised to be able to play at a level close to what we would expect from DJ. And in the end, I just don't think that's fair to him," Boone said. "So we made the difficult decision with him today to IL him. We'll see how the next week unfolds. And if we get to an ALCS situation, we'll see if he's potentially in play at that point, but we just won't know."

New York also transferred slugger Luke Voit to the 60-day injured list, ending the 2020 home run champion's season. Voit went on the injured list Thursday with inflammation in the same left knee he had surgically repaired in the spring. He batted .239 with 11 homers and a .764 OPS in 68 games a year after leading baseball with 22 homers during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.

Boone said that LeMahieu was diagnosed with the sports hernia "probably the last week or 10 days," and that the Yankees were seeing how well they could manage through it before making Sunday's decision.

With LeMahieu unavailable until at least the ALCS, the Yankees will now use a combination of Gleyber Torres, Gio Urshela, Rougned Odor, Tyler Wade and Andrew Velazquezto cover the left side of the infield. Rookie pitcher Luis Gil was brought up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to replace LeMahieu on the active roster.

Urshela, however, had a pronounced limp after making a sensational catch in Sunday's 1-0 victory over Tampa Bay that put the Yankees into Tuesday's Wild Card game against the Boston Red Sox. He sprinted 126 feet after Austin Meadows' popup from a shifted formation in the sixth inning, caught the ball a stride before reaching the top step of the Rays' dugout, then appeared to leap from the warning track full-speed into an empty spot on the bench.

Urshela was replaced in the ninth. Boone said there wasn't any structural damage, but Urshela will be re-evaluated before determining his future availability.

"This is a huge loss for our team," Yankees bench and infield coach Carlos Mendoza told ESPN of LeMahieu's injury. "Everyone knows what kind of player DJ LeMahieu is and what he brings to the team. And this is a tough situation, because DJ is a player with a very high threshold for pain. If there is a player who can play in great pain, that is DJ. But he could not do that anymore. It was not fair to him. So now the rest of the players have to step up because there is no time to feel sorry for ourselves."

LeMahieu is hitting .268 with 10 home runs and 57 RBIs this season and leads the Yankees with 160 hits.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.