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DJ LeMahieu improving, may soon have at-bats vs. live pitching

DJ LeMahieu of the Yankees beats the tag

DJ LeMahieu of the Yankees beats the tag from Travis d'Arnaud of the Braves to score a run in the fourth inning at Yankee Stadium on Aug. 12. Credit: Jim McIsaac

DJ LeMahieu’s return to the Yankees isn’t considered imminent but the injured second baseman is making steady progress toward that end.

LeMahieu, put on the injured list Aug. 16 with a sprained left thumb, hit off a high velocity pitching machine Wednesday and will likely repeat that step, the first during his rehab process, again on Thursday.

“DJ’s doing well,” Aaron Boone said Wednesday before his team played the Braves in a straight doubleheader at Truist Park. “Really encouraged with what we’re seeing from him.”

Boone added that LeMahieu, hitting .411 with a .990 OPS in 19 games when he went to the IL, could get some at-bats this weekend against live pitching.

As for some of the other players on the nine-member IL — a list that includes prominent players like Giancarlo Stanton (left hamstring strain), Gleyber Torres (left hamstring/quad strains), James Paxton (left flexor strain), Zack Britton (left hamstring strain) and Kyle Higashioka — the one seemingly the closest to returning is Higashioka, the backup catcher who has been out since Aug. 6 with a right oblique strain.

"I think he's getting real close," Boone said of Higashioka, slated to get live at-bats this weekend at the team’s alternate site in Moosic, Pa.

As for Stanton, put on the IL Aug. 9, Boone said the DH has been working out on the field at the Stadium in recent days. Stanton is running at about “70%,” Boone said, and has been hitting on the field off the “high velocity and breaking ball machines.”

“He’s doing pretty well,” Boone said.

Minor move for catching depth

Wednesday morning the Yankees acquired C Rob Brantly from the Giants in exchange for cash considerations and assigned the 31-year-old to their alternate site in Moosic, Pa. Brantly has batted .228 with seven homers, 19 doubles and 37 RBIs over parts of six seasons with the Marlins, White Sox, Phillies and Giants.

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