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MLB lockout has Yankees in dark on players coming off surgery

MLB: Texas Rangers at New York Yankees

Sep 20, 2021; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees second baseman DJ LeMahieu (26) scores on a RBI single by Aaron Judge (not pictured) against the Texas Rangers during the third inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK- Major League Baseball’s lockout has left the New York Yankees unaware of how DJ LeMahieu, Aaron Hicks, Jameson Taillon and Darren O’Day are progressing following surgery.

Hicks, rehabbing from a May 26 operation to repair a torn tendon sheath in his left wrist, hit .265 (13 for 49) in 12 games with Leones del Escogido of the Dominican Winter League in late November and early December. He had one homer, nine RBIs, four walks, 10 strikeouts and two steals.

LeMahieu had sports hernia surgery on Oct. 12, Taillon right ankle tendon surgery on Oct. 28 and O’Day left hamstring surgery on July 21, the same day outfielder Tim Locastro had surgery to repair a torn right ACL.

“I don’t have any contact with them, so I don’t know,” manager Aaron Boone said Wednesday during a conference call to discuss his revamped and expanded coaching staff.

MLB told teams not to contact players on 40-man rosters and wiped all images of those players off websites.

Baseball’s lockout started when the collective bargaining agreement expired Dec. 1. Boone doesn’t expect the team will evaluate the players until the work stoppage ends. It’s uncertain whether spring training will start as scheduled on Feb. 16.

“We tried to put our guys in the best position as far as our coaches at the time having those conversations and putting plans in place as we headed into Dec. 1,” Boone said. “Hopefuly set them up with programs and things that they can follow and be in a good position once this is all settled, but we’ve had no contact. Obviously it’s not ideal that we can’t have that contact and know how everyone’s doing, but we should get a decent idea in those early days of what we’re dealing with.”

Boone’s 11-man coaching staff includes newcomers in third base coach Luis Rojas, first base coach Travis Chapman, hitting coach Dillon Lawson, assistant hitting coaches Eric Chavez and Casey Dykes and assistant pitching coach Desi Druschel.

Holdovers include bench coach Carlos Mendoza, pitching coach Matt Blake, bullpen coach Mike Harkey, catching coordinator Tanner Swanson and coaching assistant Brett Weber.

Lawson spent the last three season as the Yankees’ minor league hitting coordinator.

“He’s had a really, really strong impact on our minor leagues,” Boone said. “One of the things that kind of sucks about the lockout, obviously, is him not being able to continue to build those relationships. But before the lockout started, we had him onboard and he was already starting to develop those relationships with guys and was able to have some meaningful sessions and conversations.”

Chavez, a six-time Gold Glove third baseman who last played in 2014, is projected to have a role beyond his title.

“He’s got a really good perspective on the game. He’s very open-minded,” Boone said, “I kind of view him as a little bit of a Swiss Army (knife). He’s going to have a lot of different responsibilities. He’s going to have his hands in a lot of different things. It’s a role that I feel is going to evolve as he allows it to.”