The New York Yankees have the best record in baseball thanks to a hot start to the 2024 season. Without the likes of Gerrit Cole and DJ LeMahieu, the Yankees are 12-4 to begin the season as they try to reestablish themselves as a contender in the American League.

While Cole's return is nowhere near imminent, the Yanks could be getting LeMahieu back soon as the infielder recovers from a broken foot he suffered in a spring training game. Manager Aaron Boone said on Saturday that LeMahieu's progress is encouraging and he could be sent for a rehab assignment after the Yankees return home on Friday.

LeMahieu rejoined the team in New York last week and is with them during their current six-game road trip. His baseball activity has ramped up over the last few weeks but he is still not cleared for a return to in-game action. Though that could happen within the next week, there is no set target date on when LeMahieu will make his 2024 Yankees debut.

“The biggest thing would be being able to handle a back-to-back and how does he bounce back from playing five, seven or nine innings, that kind of thing,” Boone said, per “So I don’t know that plan yet.”

It's been nearly a month since LeMahieu's injury occurred on March 16. Given he has not faced live in-game pitching since then, his rehab assignment will likely be closer to a week or two than three or four games.

Healthy LeMahieu adds another cog in new-look Yankees lineup

New York Yankees third baseman DJ LeMahieu (26) receives a throw at first base to retire Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Ke'Bryan Hayes (not pictured) during the ninth inning against at PNC Park. New York won 7-5.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees offense is a big reason why they're out to a roaring start. Juan Soto is exactly what New York expected him to be, while Anthony Volpe has emerged as a solid leadoff hitter in his sophomore season. That's without Aaron Judge knocking the cover off the ball, as the perennial AL MVP candidate has a .207 batting average through 16 games.

When DJ LeMahieu returns he is expected to slot in as the Yankees' starting third baseman, replacing the platoon of Oswaldo Cabrera and Jon Berti. Cabrera has taken over most of the playing time at the hot corner recently thanks to Berti's injury and his breakout at the plate. Cabrera has a .289 average and is second on the team with 11 RBIs.

Perhaps the Yankees want to see Cabrera at third long-term, but LeMahieu is a Gold Glove fielder who isn’t too bad with the stick himself. The 35-year-old wasn’t exactly tearing it up in spring training but he had a solid second half of the 2023 season and has certainly earned the right to keep his starting spot upon his return. That's also not to mention the Yankees are paying him $15 million a year.

Boone and the Yankees will have a nice problem on their hands if LeMahieu returns to form while Cabrera develops into an everyday type of player. Although he'll lose at-bats once the veteran returns, Cabrera has at least allowed New York to ease LeMahieu back with his performance.

DJ LeMahieu likely won’t compete for a batting title anymore but can still produce in a Yankees lineup where he isn’t one of the bats New York leans on. His priority should be getting fully healthy since the Yankees aren’t desperate for his services.