DJ LeMahieu has been one of the Yankees spending the most time working out at the team's facility in Tampa this offseason. This, of course, comes after the second-half of the season didn't quite go as planned for the veteran infielder.
LeMahieu was limited due to a foot injury, and ultimately missed the majority of September and was left off the postseason roster. He was able to avoid surgery this offseason, and has been progressing well at the facility.
Yankees hitting coach Dillon Lawson recently told the New York Post that LeMahieu is now healthy and he seems to be back to his old self in all aspects of the game.
"He looks healthy, whether it's in the weight room or on defense or hitting. He's pushing it with everything, and he's able to do it. If you didn't know how last year ended, you wouldn't think anything of it, but we all saw that.''
LeMahieu is still yet to face live pitching, but Lawson is encouraged with how he's been driving the ball in the cages and off the tee. The bat speed the two-time batting champ has showcased for years is there, and he's been "squaring the ball up."
"He's able to take his swing. Sometimes when he came out there for batting practice [while he was injured], he'd have to come off his back side and couldn't really rotate into the ball. That affected how he impacted the ball and swung through it," Lawson said. "Now he's able to do everything he needs to do, whether [the pitch] is inside, outside, up or down. It looks like there was never a problem."
Manager Aaron Boone has also been encouraged with the progress the infielder has made. In a recent interview on Yankees Hot Stove, the skipper said LeMahieu is in a "really good spot" and it's "very probable" he'll be a full and healthy player come Opening Day.
While the Yankees certainly will be a bit cautious with the 34-year-old, getting him healthy and back into that lineup would be huge. LeMahieu, who took home the utility-man Gold Glove in the AL last season, provides Boone with an option at first, second, and third.
LeMahieu took home his first-two career Silver Slugger awards in his first two seasons in the Bronx. He hit a combined .336 with a .922 OPS, 129 RBI, 150 runs scored, and 83 extra-base hits over that span.
However, each of the past two seasons he's seen his production decline due to injuries. Over the second-half of last season, he hit just .228 with a .635 OPS, 11 RBI, and eight extra-base hits.
If LeMahieu truly is healthy heading into the 2023 season, he could be looking at a big-time bounce-back season at the plate.