Hobbled Yankees lose another star, place DJ LeMahieu on IL

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK — The injury-riddled New York Yankees placed infielder DJ LeMahieu on the 10-day injured list with inflammation of his right second toe.

LeMahieu had been dealing with the injury for several weeks but managed to play through the discomfort until recently, missing the first three games of New York’s series against Minnesota. Yankees manager Aaron Boone believes the issue really began to impact LeMahieu during a three-game set at Boston from Aug. 12-14.

One of New York’s most consistent hitters, the two-time batting champion was 0 for 12 last weekend in Tampa Bay and has scuffled at the plate since that weekend at Fenway Park, batting just .143 (10 for 70) with no extra-base hits over his last 18 games.

“It’s just been sore and I think it’s just prevented him from really getting off his swing,” Boone said. “I talk about these guys, they’re like race cars. A little something’s off and it prevents you from being that race car.”

The Yankees had hoped the reliable LeMahieu could avoid the IL. That outlook changed, with Boone noting that treatment and playing through the pain simply hasn’t worked well enough.

“There’s pain things. We’ve talked about the orthotics he’s got. We talked about the treatments that they do on it every day,” Boone said. “Are there other injections that are safe and effective? These are all things that they’re talking about.”

The move is retroactive to Sept. 5, opening up the possibility that LeMahieu could be back at Milwaukee. While Boone remains cautiously optimistic, he did not set a timetable for LeMahieu’s return.

“I’m concerned about it obviously because DJ’s been dealing with this now for a few weeks where I think it’s clearly compromised him,” Boone said. “So yeah, there’s that concern but there’s also hope with that.”

Leading the AL East by five games, New York has been hampered by a rash of injuries lately, with 15 players on the IL.

First baseman Anthony Rizzo landed on the IL with headaches that followed an epidural injection to treat lower back pain.

Slugger Giancarlo Stanton is dealing with the after effects of fouling a ball off his left foot in the series opener. He was expected to participate in a full pregame routine and could be available over the weekend when the second-place Rays visit the Bronx.

Matt Carpenter was seen rolling through the clubhouse on a scooter, his broken left foot in a boot.

Luis Severino (strained right lat) allowed two runs on four hits over four innings for Double-A Somerset. The right-hander might make one more rehab start but if not is a possibility to return for a two-game series at Boston Sept. 13-14, Boone said. A former 19-game winner, Severino last pitched in the majors on July 13.

Trade deadline acquisition Lou Trivino is dealing with back spasms, something the reliever noted usually takes two to three days to resolve. Right-hander Scott Effross (strained right shoulder) is expected to throw a bullpen session  and could be close to returning.

All-Star Nestor Cortes (strained left groin) was activated from the 15-day IL to start against the Twins. The left-hander hurled six innings of one-run ball against Toronto on Aug. 21.

Yankees star Judge hits 62nd homer to break Maris’ AL record

New York Yankees v Texas Rangers - Game Two
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ARLINGTON, Texas – Aaron Judge hit his 62nd home run of the season Tuesday night, breaking Roger Maris’ American League record and setting what some fans consider baseball’s “clean” standard.

The 30-year-old Yankees slugger drove a 1-1 slider from Texas right-hander Jesus Tinoco into the first couple of rows of seats in left field when leading off the second game of New York’s day-night doubleheader.

Maris’ 61 for the Yankees in 1961 had been exceeded six times previously, but all were tainted by the stench of steroids. Mark McGwire hit 70 for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1998 and 65 the following year. Barry Bonds hit an MLB-record 73 for the San Francisco Giants in 2001, and the Chicago Cubs’ Sammy Sosa had 66, 65 and 63 during a four-season span starting in 1998.

McGwire admitted using banned steroids, while Bonds and Sosa denied knowingly using performing-enhancing drugs. Major League Baseball started testing with penalties for PEDs in 2004, and some fans – perhaps many – until now have considered Maris as holder of the legitimate record.

A Ruthian figure with a smile as outsized as his body, the 6-foot-7 Judge has rocked the major leagues with a series of deep drives that hearken to the sepia tone movie reels of his legendary pinstriped predecessors.

“He should be revered for being the actual single-season home run champ,” Roger Maris Jr. said Wednesday night after his father’s mark was matched by Judge. “I think baseball needs to look at the records and I think baseball should do something.”

Judge had homered only once in the past 13 games, and that was when he hit No. 61 last Wednesday in Toronto. The doubleheader nightcap in Texas was his 55th game in row played since Aug. 5.

After a single in five at-bats in the first game Tuesday, Judge was 3 for 17 with five walks and a hit by pitch since moving past the 60 home runs Babe Ruth hit in 1927, which had stood as the major league record for 34 years. Maris hit his 61st off Boston’s Tracy Stallard at old Yankee Stadium on Oct. 1, 1961.

Judge has a chance to become the first AL Triple Crown winner since Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012. He leads the AL with 131 RBIs and began the day trailing Minnesota’s Luis Arraez, who was hitting .315.

The home run in his first at-bat put him back to .311, where he had started the day before dropping a point in the opener.

Judge’s accomplishment will cause endless debate.

“To me, the holder of the record for home runs in a season is Roger Maris,” author George Will said earlier this month. “There’s no hint of suspicion that we’re seeing better baseball than better chemistry in the case of Judge. He’s clean. He’s not doing something that forces other players to jeopardize their health.”