Yankees’ Oswaldo Cabrera peaking at right time to replace DJ LeMahieu - Sport News

Yankees’ Oswaldo Cabrera peaking at right time to replace DJ LeMahieu

Oswaldo Cabrera arrived at spring training six weeks ago trying to find the confidence that had escaped him over the course of a rough 2023 season.

A tough first few weeks of camp didn’t necessarily help the cause.

But Cabrera picked up steam at the plate over the final few weeks, a well-timed surge now that the Yankees likely will be leaning on him to man third base for however long DJ LeMahieu is out with a bone bruise on his right foot.

Oswaldo Cabrera

 

“Obviously you don’t want to see a teammate like DJ down with an injury,” Cabrera said Monday night before the Yankees left Mexico City. “But I’ve been working hard to just be ready in any position that they need me to try to help the team win. I’m ready for it. It’s not a new position for me, so I feel that I’m ready to take that [responsibility].”

The Yankees have seen two different versions of Cabrera since he arrived in the big leagues: the one that provided an instant impact upon his debut in 2022 and the one that scuffled through 2023 even after opening the season as their starting left fielder.

The 25-year-old said at the start of camp that he was working on getting his confidence back after a season in which the Yankees optioned him to Triple-A three times to try to let him work through his offensive struggles, only to spend a total of 10 games at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

On Monday, Cabrera indicated he is getting that confidence back, but said it’s still an everyday process to keep it high. His progress at the plate over the course of camp should help.

Cabrera started the spring 1-for-23 across nine games before finishing 9-for-24 over his final 11 games, not including the Mexico City series.

“We were working from the beginning of spring training,” Cabrera said, mentioning his work with assistant hitting coaches Pat Roessler and Casey Dykes. “We’ve been working on a lot of things — not new, but things that help me a lot. So I feel like that work is getting the results we want.”

An added twist for Cabrera this season is that the switch hitter will meet with the Yankees’ hitting staff before each series to determine which left-handed pitchers he might hit left-handed against. Cabrera didn’t know yet what he would do against Astros lefty Framber Valdez on Thursday.

“When I played in Venezuela [over the winter], I got a lot of reps lefty-lefty,” Cabrera said. “So right now, I feel good. I feel like I faced a lot this spring training lefty-lefty. All those at-bats I feel good.”

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