DJ LeMahieu made a nice stop and started the double play -- but the three-time Gold Glove second baseman started it from alongside third.
He also charged a couple of balls and got the outs at first in his Yankees debut, a 5-3 loss to Baltimore on Saturday at Yankee Stadium.
Yes, he was tagged with an error after moving to his right and making a nifty sliding stop in the ninth. Luke Voit came up empty on his bounced throw to first. But all in all, it was hard to tell that this marked LeMahieu’s first regular-season game at third since June 13, 2014, for the Rockies.
“I felt good,” LeMahieu said. “Once I got the first one out of the way, I relaxed out there. I felt pretty comfortable.”
The 30-year-old two-time National League All-Star is going to be playing regularly, just not all at second base. Miguel Andujar, who struggled defensively at third as a rookie in 2018, served as the DH, opening up the position for LeMahieu in this second game of the season. LeMahieu had sat and watched on Opening Day.
Aaron Boone said Andujar is likely to be back at third Sunday, with LeMahieu at another positition.
“I think we’re going to see him at first base, I think we’re going to see him at third, and we’re going to see him at second,” Boone said about the plan for LeMahieu going forward. “As I sit here right now, maybe a little more second, but that can change in a hurry depending on the situation.”
LeMahieu left the Rockies and signed a two-year, $24 million deal with the Yankees in January. He’s embracing the multifaceted role.
“I’m excited for the challenge, the opportunity,” he said. “It’s just a great team to be a part of, and I’m really excited about that.”
Losing pitcher James Paxton enjoyed the view of LeMahieu. “It looked like he was an everyday third baseman,” he said. “… He made it look easy. He’s great over there.”
Troy Tulowitzki, LeMahieu's former Rockies teammate, wasn’t surprised. “You put him anywhere,” the shortstop said, “and he’s going to impact the game offensively, defensively.”
LeMahieu, who was the National League batting champ with a .348 average in 2016, said he felt “a few jitters” for his opener, but he did have an impact at the plate as well.
He delivered a two-out RBI single in the fourth to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead. After Tulowitzki opened the ninth with a home run to cut their deficit to 5-2, LeMahieu followed with a hard double to left to make it a 2-for-4 day and continue a rally that ultimately fell short.
“This is a tough place to play late in the game if you’re an opposing team,” LeMahieu said. “I’ve seen it from the other side. … This team doesn’t quit. I saw that last year. It seems like we’re going to be doing a lot of that, tough at-bats late in the game this year, too.”