TAMPA — DJ LeMahieu — in his trademark, understated fashion — said this week his foot feels “good, so that’s good.”
Aaron Boone was a bit more effusive Thursday.
“We’ve had really a few months now with zero issues,” the manager said before the Yankees played the Pirates at Steinbrenner Field. “So, I hope [we are past the injury].”
The early returns have been promising for the Yankees and their versatile infield weapon.
LeMahieu, who was so hampered by a broken bone in his big right toe and ligament damage in his second toe last year, rested the foot this offseason and still finds time in camp to take pressure off.
He has cut down on reps, both in the field and in the batting cage, and said he feels healthy.
In the tiny sample size of 20 plate appearances, LeMahieu entered Thursday hitting .333 with a pair of walks in the Grapefruit League.
“I feel really good about where he’s at with it,” Boone said of LeMahieu, who lasered a home run Tuesday that was 103.6 mph off the bat. “[He] hit a ball to right-center, that homer the other night, that I don’t know when he’s hit a ball that far. That ball was absolutely crushed.”
Defensively, he has been able to switch between second, third and first without issue.
Through July last season, LeMahieu posted an .813 OPS and was a valuable leadoff hitter in front of Aaron Judge.
The foot injury wrecked the rest of LeMahieu’s season, which finished with a .734 OPS.
“He played through the injury, [and] his numbers suffered there as a result,” Boone said of LeMahieu, who has played successful back-to-backs in spring. “But he’s just such a good hitter, such a smart hitter, such a patient hitter.”
Jose Trevino swung the bat for the first time since he sprained his right wrist in a March 9 game.
Seven days later, Trevino hit off a batting tee and in soft-toss.
If all goes well with Trevino, Boone hopes the catcher will return to the lineup Tuesday in Tampa against the Tigers.
Like everyone else, Boone said he felt “awful” for Edwin Diaz after the Mets closer tore his patellar tendon in a World Baseball Classic celebration.
“I hope [the injury] doesn’t get some way tied to WBC,” Boone said. “That’s not a pitcher [who] blew out because he was throwing high-leverage playoff innings in March. That’s a freak thing that happened.”
Jonathan Loasigia returned from the World Baseball Classic, where he played with the eliminated Nicaragua.
Boone said the righty reliever is “right on line” with where he should be. Loasigia “probably” will pitch with the Yankees in a game this weekend.
Tommy Kahnle (right biceps tendinitis) is expected to begin throwing again Friday.
The Yankees hope Carlos Rodon (mild strain of the brachioradialis muscle in his left forearm) will begin throwing this weekend.
Kahnle and Rodon will start the season on the injured list.