Yankees’ LeMahieu on injured list with sprained left thumb

Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK — American League batting leader DJ LeMahieu was placed on the 10-day injured list by the New York Yankees on Sunday because of a sprained left thumb, joining Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton on the sidelines.

LeMahieu was hurt during an awkward swing in the fourth inning of Saturday night’s 11-5 victory over Boston and left the game two innings later.

He broke a small bone in the thumb in 2018 while with Colorado, and Yankees manager Aaron Boone said LeMahieu told him the thumb felt similar Saturday night. LeMahieu did not play between May 13 to June 1 that year.

“It’s just a sprain that’s not broken,” Boone said “In some ways, I think a little bit relieved of kind of fearing for the worst last night, but we won’t really have anything definitive probably ’till tomorrow.”

LeMahieu was sent for an MRI and CT scan on Saturday night, and those scans were being forward to the hand specialist he used two years ago. Slowed by COVID-19 when training resumed in July, LeMahieu returned for opening day and is hitting .411 with two homers and eight RBIs.

A 32-year-old second baseman, LeMahieu hits leadoff atop a powerful Yankees lineup. New York began Sunday averaging a big league-best 5.75 runs per game and topped the AL East with a 14-6 record, New York’s best start since 2003.

“That’s the catalyst of this offense,” Judge said. “Doesn’t matter the situation, the time of the game, what’s going on, how he’s feeling.”

Tyler Wade figures to get most of the time at second in LeMahieu’s absence. He had an RBI double after replacing LaMahieu on Saturday night.

“I’ve always had confidence in my game. It just comes with reps,” said Wade, who began Sunday with a .286 average in 14 at-bats.

Closer Aroldis Chapman is to be activated from the injured list Monday after recovering from COVID-19, which had sidelined him since training resumed last month.

Miguel Andujar was recalled from New York’s alternate training site at Scranton, where he was optioned after play on Aug. 5. Andujar hurt a shoulder last year and lost the third-base job to Gio Urshela, then returned from surgery this year and hit .071 (1 for 14) with no RBIs in five games. Boone said Andujar likely will start Monday’s series finale against left-hander Martin Perez.

Judge plans to resume batting on Monday and to be activated on Saturday. He got sore from playing on artificial turf at Tampa Bay and tried to talk the Yankees into not putting him on the IL.

“Going there usually beats up your legs playing on that turf. I just felt a little tight,” he said.

Judge plans to wear tennis sneakers while playing the outfield at Tropicana Field in the future, then switch to baseball cleats while batting. He tried to lobby manager Aaron Boone, doctors and athletics trainers to not put him on the IL.

“I feel 100% now,” he said. “I was trying to beg them to give me a couple of days so I’d be ready tomorrow. But it is what it is. I think they’re just kind of looking out for me, so it doesn’t get worse.”

Stanton has not played since Aug. 8 because of a strained left hamstring and Judge hasn’t played since Tuesday because of strained right calf. Stanton has been on the DL/IL in six of nine seasons and Judge in three straight seasons and four of five.