Yankees’ DJ LeMahieu shaken while fielding a ball hit by...

Yankees’ DJ LeMahieu shaken while fielding a ball hit by Jair Camargo in the top of the third inning against the Minnesota Twins on Feb. 26, 2024. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

When DJ LeMahieu is ready to again play in the big leagues is anyone’s guess.

And after the third baseman pulled himself from his first rehab assignment game on Tuesday with Double-A Somerset after just one at-bat, no one with the Yankees was prepared to engage in guesswork of any kind.

But there was a singular conclusion drawn regarding the veteran infielder, who started the season on the injured list with a non-displaced fracture in his right foot: What happened Tuesday wasn’t good.

“Hopefully it’s just a short little setback in his ramp-up,” Aaron Boone said late Wednesday afternoon, about three hours before the Yankees played the A’s in the third of a four-game series at the Stadium. “But I kind of want to see what we have the next few hours before I make any conclusions.”

LeMahieu returned to New York late Tuesday night and on Wednesday afternoon was to be evaluated, and undergo additional testing, by Yankees medical personnel, including team physician Christopher Ahmad.

Boone said he isn’t “overly concerned yet,” though that was before hearing the latest update on LeMahieu’s condition.

But there are not a lot of positives to hold on to at the moment.

Starting with the fact that, for the better part of the last two weeks, the 35-year-old LeMahieu, as he continued increasing all of his on-field baseball activities, felt the worst of the injury was behind him.

“He’s been chomping at the bit [to return] because, really, for the last two weeks he’s felt really good,” Boone said. “And what I’ve seen, just with my eyes, watching him take ground balls, watching him hit, he’s looked really good and the recovery [continued] to get better and better. So a little bit [surprised].”

Before the setback, the Yankees’ plan had been for LeMahieu to play in a handful of rehab games this week and possibly be activated in time for next week’s AL East showdown against the Orioles, which starts Monday in Baltimore.

Regardless of what Wednesday’s evaluation shows, LeMahieu returning by Monday now seems a long shot at best, if not an outright impossibility.

Boone did say he was “glad” the 35-year-old LeMahieu said something to Somerset trainers immediately after feeling discomfort Tuesday.

“The thing with DJ, DJ’s usually so tough in playing through things,” Boone said. “He’s been very much on board with us about ‘we’re not messing with this at all [in terms of rushing back].’ I’m glad he listened to it. This may be a case where, in the past, he’d try to grind through it, but we want to make sure this thing’s good to go once he is ready to roll.”

In the meantime, Oswaldo Cabrera will continue getting the majority of reps at third base. The 25-year-old switch hitter has made the most out of the opportunity he’s been given so far in LeMahieu’s absence. Even with the cooling off that was inevitable after a blistering start — Cabrera entered Wednesday 7-for-his-last-27 (.259) — he came into the night hitting .278 overall with three homers, 14 RBIs and a .770 OPS.

“He’s been huge, obviously,” Boone said. “Oswaldo’s played winning baseball for us. He’s done a lot of really good things on both sides of the ball that have helped us win games. And the timing of it has been really, really nice, considering we’ve needed it.”

Still, with LeMahieu out indefinitely and utility man Jon Berti on the IL with a left groin strain (Berti could be back within the next 7-10 days), the Yankees are “a little vulnerable” in the infield department, GM Brian Cashman told reporters early Wednesday afternoon at an event in the Bronx.

The Yankees don’t have a true backup first baseman for Anthony Rizzo on the roster, that role currently being filled by Cabrera. But Cabrera is needed as the everyday third baseman, the reason in recent weeks that catcher Austin Wells and reserve outfielder Trent Grisham have gotten some pregame work at first.

But, generally speaking, this isn’t the time of year to expect reinforcements from the outside.

“I think the legitimate choices for Boone currently aren’t as comforting, I guess,” Cashman said. “But that’s also the nature of the beast sometimes with how your season is playing out and you’ve got to grind through it with what you’ve got.”

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