New York — Second baseman DJ LeMahieu (Brother Rice High School) returned to the field for the New York Yankees on Friday after missing nearly two weeks with COVID-19.
LeMahieu took grounders at second base and was to hit indoors but was not scheduled for the Yankees’ intrasquad game. Manager Aaron Boone announced on July 4 that LeMahieu and right-hander Luis Cessa tested positive for the coronavirus before traveling to New York and said they were self-isolating at home.
Boone wasn’t sure whether LeMahieu would be ready for Thursday night’s opener at Washington.
“I don’t want to commit one way or the other,” Boone said. “That would be a pretty quick turnaround, obviously.”
LeMahieu signed with the Yankees before the 2019 season and hit .327. He set career highs with 26 homers and 102 RBIs while splitting time among first, second and third. He turned 32 on Monday.
“I don’t worry so much about DJ finding his timing,” Boone said. “I’m sure he’ll want to gather as many live at-bats as he can, obviously, but I’m pretty certain that’ll come back quick. Obviously, a lot of it will be where’s he at from a leg and buildup standpoint and how do we build them up to be ready to play day in and day out, nine-inning games.”
Following the departure of shortstop Didi Gregorius as a free agent, LeMahieu is expected to be mostly a second baseman this season as Gleyber Torres shifts to shortstop.
“He’s still got to get some at-bats, and he’s got to get some rep,” hitting coach Marcus Thames said.
Twins keep security
The Minnesota Twins will keep using off-duty Minneapolis police officers for security during the 2020 season.
The Twins have 30 home games on the virus-abbreviated schedule. It’s unlikely any of them will be played with fans in attendance.
After the May 25 death of George Floyd, a handcuffed Black man who died after Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for nearly 8 minutes, the Twins said they began reviewing their relationship with the Minneapolis Police Department.
The University of Minnesota announced May 28 it will no longer contract with MPD for support services including football games and other large-scale events.
None of the other Twin Cities sports teams have announced any changes to date, since Floyd’s death sparked nationwide unrest and spurred the Minneapolis city council to study the feasibility of replacing the police department with a different structure for public safety and violence prevention.
In their statement Friday, the Twins said the process included dialogue with “many voices both inside and outside the organization” as well as Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, “whom we support and believe in his integrity, ability and desire to create systemic change.”
Rodriguez may return
Red Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodríguez, who had been the team’s likely opening day starter before testing positive for COVID-19, is in Boston and making progress toward working out with the team, manager Ron Roenicke said Friday.
Reliever Darwinzon Hernandez has also arrived in town, Roenicke said.
“They still need to go through some things before we get them on the field. But it’s good to see them out there,” Roenicke said. “The information Eddie has given to us is that he has still been throwing quite a bit. … I know sometimes players think they can come back faster than they can. We’ll get a read on it.”
Reliever Josh Taylor also tested positive, but he was already in Boston.
The three players had been placed on the injured list while isolating away from the team. Protocols require a player to test negative twice, 24 hours apart, be asymptomatic and complete an antibody test before he can be cleared by team physicians.
The Red Sox are scheduled to open the season on July 24 against the Baltimore Orioles. If Rodríguez is unavailable, the first game could fall to Nathan Eovaldi.
Around the horn
The Braves received good news and bad news Friday.
Outfielder Yasiel Puig tested positive for the coronavirus, he revealed Friday, saying that he’s asymptomatic.
Because of the positive test, the Braves won’t be signing Puig.
The potential one-year deal was pending his test result.
While Puig is out, two other Braves are back in. First baseman Freddie Freeman and right-hander Touki Toussaint were cleared to return to team facilities, the team announced.
... Brewers right-hander Brandon Woodruff is following up his first All-Star appearance by getting his first opportunity to start a season opener.
Brewers manager Craig Counsell announced Friday that Woodruff will get the start when Milwaukee begins the season July 24 against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Kyle Hendricks will be starting for the Cubs.