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DJ LeMahieu returns to Yankees' lineup against Mets

The Yankees' DJ LeMahieu bats in front of

The Yankees' DJ LeMahieu bats in front of Mets catcher René Rivera during the first inning of an MLB exhibition game at Yankee Stadium on Sunday. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Maybe opening night for DJ LeMahieu isn’t such an outlandish thought after all.

The second baseman, who did not arrive for camp until Friday having missed the first two weeks of camp after testing positive for COVID-19, was in Sunday night’s lineup leading off and playing second.

Though only slated to play three innings, it was still quite a leap considering LeMahieu only took the field Friday and Saturday for limited workouts.

“He said after yesterday's workout that he was leaning towards wanting to be in there, and then when he woke up this morning he texted me that he was feeling good,” Boone said.

LeMahieu, in the second year of a two-year $24-million deal, fouled off the first pitch he saw from righty Corey Oswalt, then grounded the second back to the pitcher for a 1-3 put out. Aaron Judge followed with a laser home run, on a 0-and-2 fastball, to left for his first homer of camp to make it 1-0. LeMahieu grounded to third to end the second inning. 

Estrada in the mix

Entering Sunday night Thairo Estrada, an athletic, hardworking 24-year-old utility man whom the Yankees have liked for several years, had hit three homers in this spring training reboot. Aaron Boone said Estrada’s work at the plate, and the field, has him very much in the discussion as a bench option. Teams can open the season with 30 players on their active roster.

“It’s been a matter of being more selective at the plate,” Estrada said through his interpreter Sunday of some of the adjustments he’s made. “And at the same time making better contact, being aggressive with [certain] pitches. I’m extremely excited about the results I’ve had so far.”

Estrada replaced LeMahieu at second in the fourth. 

Extra bases

Before the game the Yankees honored civil rights icon and Congressman John Lewis, who died over the weekend at the age of 80, and New York Post photographer Anthony Causi, who died from the coronavirus in April……Righty Luis Cessa, who also tested positive for COVID-19 before camp, reported Sunday and could throw a bullpen Monday, Boone said.

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