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DJ LeMahieu lands on injured list with thumb sprain as Yankees defeat Red Sox again

NEW YORK -- American League batting leader DJ LeMahieu was placed on the 10-day injured list by the New York Yankees on Sunday because of a sprained left thumb, joining Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton on the sideline.

LeMahieu was hurt during an awkward swing in the fourth inning of Saturday night's 11-5 victory over Boston and left the game two innings later.

He broke a small bone in the thumb in 2018 while with Colorado, and Yankees manager Aaron Boone said LeMahieu told him the thumb felt similar Saturday night. LeMahieu did not play between May 13 and June 1 that year.

"It's just a sprain that's not broken,'' Boone said. "In some ways, I think a little bit relieved of kind of fearing for the worst last night, but we won't really have anything definitive probably 'til tomorrow.''

Hours after Boone's pregame media availability, Mike Ford, who figures to receive some extra playing time, drove in three runs as the Yankees beat Boston 4-2 Sunday night for their ninth straight victory over the Red Sox.

Ford put New York ahead when he dumped an RBI single into short center field in the first inning, then gave the Yankees a 4-1 lead with a two-run homer off Chris Mazza in the third. Ford exchanged a string of non-socially distanced fist bumps with teammates.

"I think that a lot of young players put a little bit too much stress on themselves at times with those opportunities," said Ford, a left-handed bat who backs up Luke Voit at first base. "It's not really about the playing time. It's more just kind of controlling your emotions when you do get that two-week stint where you can try to prove what you can do."

LeMahieu was sent for an MRI and CT scan on Saturday night. Slowed by COVID-19 when training resumed in July, he returned for Opening Day and is hitting .411 with two homers and eight RBIs.

LeMahieu, 32, hits leadoff atop a powerful Yankees lineup and plays second for the team that leads the AL East with a 14-6 record, New York's best start since 2003.

"That's the catalyst of this offense," Judge said. "Doesn't matter the situation, the time of the game, what's going on, how he's feeling."

Tyler Wade figures to get most of the time at second in LeMahieu's absence. He had an RBI double after replacing LeMahieu on Saturday night.

"I've always had confidence in my game. It just comes with reps," said Wade, who began Sunday with a .286 average in 14 at-bats.

Closer Aroldis Chapman is to be activated from the injured list Monday after recovering from the coronavirus, which had sidelined him since training resumed last month.

Miguel Andujar was recalled from New York's alternate training site in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where he was optioned after play on Aug. 5. Andujar hurt a shoulder last year and lost the third-base job to Gio Urshela, then returned from surgery this year and hit .071 (1-for-14) with no RBIs in five games.

Judge plans to resume batting Monday and to be activated Saturday. He got sore from playing on artificial turf at Tampa Bay and tried to talk the Yankees into not putting him on the IL.

"Going there usually beats up your legs, playing on that turf. I just felt a little tight," he said.

Judge said he plans to wear sneakers while playing the outfield at Tropicana Field in the future, then switch to baseball cleats while batting.

"I feel 100 percent now," he said. "I was trying to beg them to give me a couple of days so I'd be ready tomorrow. But it is what it is. I think they're just kind of looking out for me so it doesn't get worse."

Stanton has not played since Aug. 8 because of a strained left hamstring, and Judge hasn't played since Tuesday because of a strained right calf. Stanton has been on the DL/IL in six of nine seasons, and Judge in three straight seasons and four of five.