Yankees infielder DJ LeMahieu has been on the shelf since July 4 because of a positive COVID-19 test, but he’s nearing a return to the club. LeMahieu is expected to rejoin the Yankees this week, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports.
It’s obviously a relief that LeMahieu has gotten past the virus in a relatively short amount of time. Considering the time LeMahieu missed, it seems unlikely he’ll be ready for the Yankees’ opener on July 23. Nevertheless, he’ll play a key role when he does make his 2020 debut.
LeMahieu, a former Rockie and Cub, signed a two-year, $24MM contract with the Yankees before 2019 and unexpectedly produced like one of the majors’ elite players. Along with hitting an exemplary .327/.375/.518 (136 wRC+) with 26 home runs and 5.4 fWAR in 655 plate appearances, he added great value as a defender, appearing in 40 or more games at second, third and first. LeMahieu will be the Yankees’ primary second baseman this year, joining shorstop Gleyber Torres to comprise their double-play tandem.
It’s in question what the future will hold for the 32-year-old LeMahieu after 2020, as he’s due to re-enter free agency in a few months. Before spring training shut down in March, LeMahieu told Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News he and the Yankees hadn’t engaged in serious extension talks. Nothing has changed on that front, per Ackert (though the league did halt all extension discussions during the shutdown).