DJ LeMahieu isn’t off the injured list yet, but Yankees manager Aaron Boone said the second baseman is taking positive steps toward his return from a sprained left thumb.
Boone said Wednesday that LeMahieu has been hitting off a high-velocity machine and could have live at-bats this weekend.
“I’m really encouraged,’’ Boone said before the Yankees were swept in the twin bill.
LeMahieu has been sidelined since injuring the thumb on a swing on Aug. 15 and was expected to miss two to three weeks.
By that timeline, LeMahieu could return by the end of the weekend or early next week.
With Gleyber Torres out with a hamstring injury, the Yankees went with Thairo Estrada at second and Tyler Wade at shortstop in the first game on Wednesday.
Torres, according to Boone, is also doing well in his rehab.
As for the other injured Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton (hamstring) has been throwing and hitting on the field and running “about 70 percent,’’ Boone said.
Friday’s doubleheader between the Yankees and Mets in The Bronx is scheduled to begin at 4:05 p.m. followed shortly by Game 2. The Yankees will be the home team for Game 1 (the originally scheduled game) and the Mets will be the “home team” and bat second in Game 2 (rescheduled from last Friday). Both games will be seven-inning games.
First pitch for Saturday is set for 1:05 p.m. as originally scheduled.
The doubleheader on Sunday is scheduled to start at 1:05 p.m. with Game 2 starting approximately 30-45 minutes after the last out of Game 1 and the Mets batting last again in the second game, which is rescheduled from last Saturday. Both will be seven-inning games.
On Friday, the two teams will celebrate Jackie Robinson Day as all uniformed personnel will wear the No. 42 for Game 2 of their doubleheader. Both teams will also wear commemorative hats and socks for both games.
The Yankees added to their catching depth by trading for San Francisco’s Rob Brantly in exchange for cash considerations, which turned out to be $1. The 31-year-old was put into the Yankees’ 60-player pool and sent to the alternate site in Scranton.
Brantly appeared in just one game this season before being designated for assignment by the Giants on Monday.
Boone said Kyle Higashioka is “getting real close” to returning to the Yankees from an oblique strain. With the Yankees in the midst of playing seven games in five days, they could activate Higashioka and designate Erik Kratz for assignment to free up space on the 40-man roster for an additional pitcher.
On Tuesday, Boone said both Clarke Schmidt and Deivi Garcia were in play to pitch at some point this weekend. While Garcia is on the 40-man roster, Schmidt is not and the Yankees would have to make a roster move to add him.
The Yankees will start Jordan Montgomery in one of Friday’s games and depending on what happens in the twin bill, Boone thinks they’ll know who will pitch in Sunday’s doubleheader.
“I think we’ll have a pretty good idea after Friday who we are going with Sunday,’’ Boone said. “Will it be set in stone? I don’t think so.”