DJ LeMahieu has sports hernia, will need offseason surgery

Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK — DJ LeMahieu has a sports hernia that will require offseason surgery, but the New York Yankees’ leadoff hitter will attempt to play through the injury in October.

The major league batting champion last year, LeMahieu was out of the starting lineup again Saturday in a critical game against Tampa Bay. A win would clinch a playoff spot for the Yankees, who held a one-game lead over Boston for the top AL wild card.

Even with a defeat, New York could punch its postseason ticket with losses by Toronto and Seattle later in the day.

LeMahieu exited Thursday night’s victory in Toronto, received a cortisone injection Friday and was unavailable for the Yankees’ 4-3 loss to the Rays. The team had been calling the injury right hip and groin soreness, but after LeMahieu was examined by doctors Friday, manager Aaron Boone said Saturday morning the Gold Glove infielder “essentially has a sports hernia” that he’ll need to take care of after the season.

Boone said he was unsure if LeMahieu could be available off the bench in an emergency Saturday, but the club hopes he can play in the scheduled regular-season finale Sunday.

“There’s been days where it’s better,” Boone said, “and he can manage it.”

“There’s certain times where he just can’t press through.”

LeMahieu also missed a big game last weekend in Boston because of the injury. The three-time All-Star and two-time batting champion was hitting .268 with 10 homers, 57 RBIs and a .711 OPS this season. He shifted recently from second base to third when the Yankees moved error-prone Gleyber Torres from shortstop to second.

The 33-year-old LeMahieu, a three-time Gold Glove winner with Colorado, finished fourth in AL MVP voting in 2019 and third last year. He batted .364 during the pandemic-abbreviated 2020 season and then signed a $90 million, six-year contract to remain with the Yankees.

“He’s about as tough as they come,” Boone said. “Hopefully the cortisone injection is something that gives him a little bit of relief.”

With LeMahieu ailing, the Yankees recalled infielder Andrew Velazquez from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and optioned reliever Albert Abreu to their top farm club. Velazquez was set to start at shortstop Saturday, with Gio Urshela back at third base, his natural position.

Boone also said first baseman Luke Voit probably will be sidelined for at least a couple of weeks with left knee inflammation. Voit, placed on the 10-day injured list Thursday, could potentially return later in October if the Yankees advance deep enough in the postseason.

Voit led the majors with 22 home runs during last year’s 60-game season, but he had knee surgery in March and has been hampered by injuries this year. He was mostly supplanted at first base when New York acquired Anthony Rizzo from the Chicago Cubs in late July.

Boone also said right-hander Jameson Taillon (right ankle) threw a “really good” bullpen Friday and remains a candidate to start Sunday.

No lease extension, but Orioles and governor tout partnership

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The Baltimore Orioles and Maryland Gov. Wes Moore announced a joint commitment to what they called a “multi-decade, public-private partnership” to revitalize the Camden Yards sports complex.

The statement from the team and the state’s new governor came Wednesday, the deadline for the Orioles to exercise a one-time, five-year extension to their lease at Camden Yards. The team was not planning to exercise that option, according to a person with knowledge of the decision. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the club hadn’t announced its decision.

With no extension, the lease is set to expire at the end of this year, but the team and the Maryland Stadium Authority can keep negotiating. Wednesday’s joint release seemed to be an attempt to calm any nerves in Baltimore about the team’s future.

“I am looking forward to continuing to collaborate with Governor Moore, his administration, and the Maryland Stadium Authority in order to bring to Baltimore the modern, sustainable, and electrifying sports and entertainment destination the state of Maryland deserves,” Orioles CEO John Angelos said.

“We greatly appreciate Governor Moore’s vision and commitment as we seize the tremendous opportunity to redefine the paradigm of what a Major League Baseball venue represents and thereby revitalize downtown Baltimore. It is my hope and expectation that, together with Governor Moore and the new members and new chairman of the MSA board, we can again fully realize the potential of Camden Yards to serve as a catalyst for Baltimore’s second renaissance.”

Republican Larry Hogan, the state’s previous governor, signed a bill last year increasing bond authorization for M&T Bank Stadium, home of the Baltimore Ravens, and Camden Yards. The measure allowed borrowing of up to $600 million for each stadium.

“When Camden Yards opened 30 years ago, the Baltimore Orioles revolutionized baseball and set the bar for the fan experience,” Moore, a Democrat, said Wednesday. “We share the commitment of the Orioles organization to ensuring that the team is playing in a world-class facility at Camden Yards for decades to come and are excited to advance our public-private partnership.”

Angelos recently reaffirmed that the Orioles would stay in Baltimore, although he dressed down a reporter who asked for more clarity on the future of the team’s ownership situation. Angelos was sued last year by his brother Lou, who claimed John Angelos seized control of the Orioles at his expense.