Yankees only have five games out of Josh Donaldson this season, as he strained his hamstring for the remainder of the current campaign. However, manager Aaron Boone said yesterday that a minor league recovery period for Donaldson is “imminent”, which should signal a return to the roster in the near future.Twitter link via Chris Kirschner of The Athletic). Whenever Donaldson is allowed back, Boone added that the 37-year-old will become an everyday player.
Many Yankee fans are sure to rage at that point of view. The former American League MVP has been largely overwhelmed since arriving in the Bronx with Isiah Kiner-Falefa And Ben Rotvedt in a sent transaction Gio Urshela And Gary Sanchez to twins. Donaldson scored just 0.222/.308/.374 in 546 appearances last season, though he continues to be highly rated on the defensive side of the game, scoring +7 points from both times. Save and Go Above Average. In the five games Donaldson has played so far in 2023, he has won 2-16 with a brace, a walk and six strikes.
In Donaldson’s absence, DJ LeMahieu drew most of the starts on the third base. LeMahieu, 34, is still far from his peak performance with the Yankees in 2019-20, but nonetheless his .250/.320/.406 slash in 178 appearances this year is very certain. Of course, LeMahieu is also more likely to play in the first and second base, and he also hits enough to join the designated hitter on the days he’s not on the field. Even with Donaldson playing regularly in third-base, Boone was able to get LeMahieu into the squad almost regularly by rotating him through those four positions on the roster.
While many Yankee fans are ready to move on from Donaldson in the better part of a year, it’s understandable if Yanks at least want to see what he’ll be like when he returns from the injury list. He owes a $21 million salary this season and an $8 million buyout for a $16 million option next year, and as previously noted, last year’s defense was strong. . Donaldson also put the ball into play at an average of 90.7 mph last year and saw 43% of his hit balls leave the club at more than 95 mph.
At the same time, it’s fair to question how long Donaldson will be given a leash if he struggles out of the gate. The Yankees have won eight of their past ten games to lift their record to 30-20, but they are still five games behind the leader Rays. They gave their veteran colleagues Aaron Hicks about a quarter of the season before assigning him to duty, although Hicks only made 76 appearances and appeared in 28 games during that time. However, Hicks was signed until the end of the 2025 season – albeit at a lower annual rate – while Donaldson was only signed until the end of the season. The total financial commitment for both players is about the same.
Turning to another wounded, high-paid veteran — Boone adds that the organization’s hopes are for Carlos Rodon to be able to roll out a mound at some point this week (Twitter link via Bryan Hoch of MLB.com). Rodon has not pitched for the Yankees since signing a six-year contract in the winter, largely due to a forearm strain but also some back discomfort that emerged while he was recovering from an initial injury. .
Even if 30-year-old Rodon is able to cross a mound without problems, the return is still a long way off. Left-handers will likely need several sessions of bullfighting before facing the mercenaries directly in a simulated setting and eventually appearing multiple times in rehab in the minor league. It’s hard to picture him completing that cycle in less than a month.