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Yanks newcomer LeMahieu on his role: ‘Bring a lot of gloves’

January 16, 2019
FILE - In this Oct. 5, 2018, file photo, Colorado Rockies' DJ LeMahieu hits a single during the third inning of Game 2 of the National League Divisional Series baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers, in Milwaukee. A star second baseman for Colorado, LeMahieu is set to join a crowded New York Yankees infield. LeMahieu became a free agent after the season and got a $24 million, two-year contract with the Yankees. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — DJ LeMahieu is putting away his mittens and packing more mitts.

A star second baseman for Colorado, LeMahieu is set to join a crowded New York Yankees infield.

“I was told to bring a lot of gloves,” he said Wednesday on a conference call.

That’s fine with LeMahieu, who became a free agent after the season and got a $24 million, two-year contract with the Yankees.

LeMahieu was a three-time Gold Glover for the Rockies and hasn’t played anywhere else the last four seasons. He has made 24 starts at third base in past years and also dabbled at first base and shortstop.

LeMahieu said he’s “pretty comfortable playing multiple positions.”

New York has plenty of infielders — and, the Yankees being the Yankees, no one is willing to completely rule them out of making a late play for All-Star free agent Manny Machado.

Second baseman Gleyber Torres and third baseman Miguel Andujar were among the top rookies in the majors last year. Shortstop Didi Gregorius could return this summer after offseason Tommy John surgery.

Plus, the Yankees recently added longtime star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. He didn’t play last season while recovering from surgery on both heels — LeMahieu recently talked to his former Rockies double-play partner and said “he’s ready to roll.”

Greg Bird and Luke Voit mostly split first base for the Yankees last season. LeMahieu is aware he could see time there, too.

“Kind of see how it unfolds,” he said.

The 30-year-old LeMahieu was a two-time All-Star during seven seasons with Colorado and led the majors with a .348 batting average in 2016. He hit .310 in 2017 and dipped to .276 last season.

LeMahieu had a career-high 15 home runs last year but is considered more of a high-contact, low-strikeout hitter. His move is certain to bring up debate about the Coors Field effect — he is a lifetime .329 hitter at that park, .266 elsewhere.

“It would’ve been nice” to stay in Colorado, he said. Once the Rockies said they were going in a different direction for the future, LeMahieu said the Yankees were at the top of his list.

LeMahieu recalled, with enthusiasm, the only two games he played in the Bronx, in 2016.

“To play at Yankee Stadium was pretty cool,” he said.

LeMahieu hasn’t gotten to the playoffs very often. In his postseason debut, the Rockies lost the 2017 NL wild-card game. Last season, they beat the Cubs in the wild-card game, then lost to Milwaukee in the Division Series.

LeMahieu joins a Yankees club that won 100 games last season in earning an AL wild-card berth and has won a record 27 World Series championships.

“You look at this team on paper, it’s stacked,” he said.

LeMahieu’s deal raises the Yankees’ projected luxury tax payroll to about $213 million. The threshold is $206 million, and the team still could trade pitcher Sonny Gray and his $6.5 million salary.

NOTES: The Yankees acquired LHP Ronald Roman and $50,000 from Arizona for OF Tim Locastro. Roman, 17, was signed by the Diamondbacks last July as a nondrafted free agent and will make his pro debut this season. Locastro, 26, went 2 for 12 in 21 games for the Los Angeles Dodgers the last two seasons and was traded to the Yankees in November for a minor leaguer and cash.

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