As DJ LeMahieu joins the company of superstars Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton on the Yankees injured list, it is once again time for some next-man-up ball in the Bronx.
LeMahieu, one of baseball’s most consistent hitters this season was put on a 10-day IL while also awaiting a second opinion on a left thumb sprain from Saturday’s win over the Boston Red Sox.
“We’ll absorb it, we got everyone in that room capable of absorbing guys down…as always the expectations in that room never change despite what happens,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said following that game.
One man in that room who was called from the team’s alternate site this week was outfielder Clint Frazier, who had been on an offensive tear entering Sunday night, going 7-for-11 with eight RBIs and two home runs in his three games played.
As Frazier seeks to lock in a role with the Yankees, he may have ample playing time to do so as Stanton is feared to miss between three and four weeks for his hamstring injury.
“Maybe I’ll piggyback off what Boonie said last year – savages,” Frazier said about himself and other young Yankees to be recently called up due to starters becoming hurt, adding that he is personally comfortable stepping into his starting opportunity.
“There’s just a lot of people that are I would say hungry to get that opportunity,” he said, particularly speaking highly of both infielders Tyler Wade and Thairo Estrada, who was called up this week along with Miguel Andujar.
Boone has been very impressed with Frazier’s offensive production so far on the year, saying that he’s been “creating ground force” and driving the ball to right and right-center “with authority.”
“He looks great, he’s in a great place, he’s worked his tail off,” the Yankees manager said.
As for Wade, who’s now tasked with replacing LeMahieu and his .411 batting average it’s just about trying to “do his job,” talking about confidence and preparation in both his own game and Frazier’s as well.
“I think it’s just one of those things where we know what kind of players we are and it’s just we’re on the best team in baseball and we have superstars and All-Stars at every position and we realize that,” Wade said. “But now I just feel like we’re part of the boys and we’re ready to go and we’re ready to accomplish our goal.”
Wade also discussed offensive improvement he’s seen since debuting at age 22 with the Yankees in 2017, saying he feels “like a completely different player.”
One positive note is that Judge said he’s “good to go” after dealing with calf tightness from the team’s doubleheader in Tampa last week.
No. 99 said that he plans on picking up a bat tomorrow and will face the Mets in Queens next weekend.
“I don’t really need 10 days to be feeling good, I already feel 100% now,” he said. “I’ll be back there on Saturday.”
Boone is also activating Yankees closer, Aroldis Chapman, Monday after his weeks-long rehabilitation from COVID-19.