DJ LeMahieu’s batting title win comes with message to Yankees

Not long after DJ LeMahieu won his second batting title on Sunday, the Yankees’ most complete hitter reiterated his desire remain in The Bronx.

“I want to stay here, but you never know how it goes. I thought I was going to stay in Colorado and I didn’t,’’ said LeMahieu, who can become a free agent after the World Series ends and will likely command more than the two-year deal for $24 million he signed with the Yankees before the 2019 season. “Hoping to be back here but you never know how it goes.’’

LeMahieu went 2-for-3 and finished with a major league-leading .364 average. Luke Voit’s 22 homers also topped the majors. They are the first pair of teammates to lead the majors in batting average and homers since Hank Aaron (.355) and Eddie Mathews (46 HR) for the 1959 Braves.

LeMahieu is the fourth Yankee to lead the majors in hitting and ninth Yankee to win an AL batting title. According to Elias Sports Bureau, LeMahieu is the second player ever to win a batting title in each league. LeMahieu led the NL in 2016 with a .348 average while with the Rockies. The other player is Ed Delahanty, who hit .410 for Philadelphia (NL) in 1899 and .376 for Washington (AL) in 1902.

Clarke Schmidt’s past and future has been and will continue to be as a starting pitcher.

However, if the Yankees need the 24-year-old right-hander, who has worked in three big-league games in the bullpen at some point during the upcoming postseason, he is all in.

“Obviously it’s not up to me, but I think I am capable of getting outs. If they needed me in any situation, especially with the lack of off days throughout the postseason it relies heavily on all facets of the game and relies on the pitching,’’ Schmidt said after getting tagged with a 5-0 loss to the Marlins in his first big-league start. “If my number is called, I will be ready for sure. I am excited to get out there again. I felt my stuff was really good today.’’

DJ LeMahieu
DJ LeMahieuPaul J. Bereswill

Schmidt needed seven pitches to get three outs in the first, but gave up three runs in the second. He worked four innings, allowed three runs, four hits, walked two, hit a batter and struck out four.

He also hit Starling Marte in the bill of the helmet with a 94 mph fastball that resulted in a left ear contusion that forced Marte out of the game.

Giancarlo Stanton wasn’t in the starting lineup Sunday when Aaron Boone used Voit as the DH.

Though Stanton has slumped at the plate, Boone saw signs on Saturday that the right-handed hitter is possibly headed into the postseason on an uptick.

“He had a few games, mostly in Buffalo, where … he struggled but felt like we saw some encouraging things [Saturday] from him, getting in better counts, obviously smoking the double and having the walk,’’ Boone said of the DH who finished the regular season in a 1-for-19 (.053) slide. “Hopefully he is in a place where he can impact like we know he is capable of in the postseason.’’

The Yankees could surely use the Stanton from before he went on the IL after 14 games at the beginning of the season, when he batted .293 with three homers, seven RBIs and posted a 1.038 OPS. Stanton returned from the IL on Sept. 15. In nine games, he hit .200 (7-for-35) with a homer, four RBIs and a .700 OPS.

According to Boone don’t be fooled by Voit limping around the field.

“Luke is good. I know everyone sees the hobble but he is actually moving well. We don’t think the foot is limiting him other than when limps around on a homer or slows down a little bit,’’ Boone said of Voit, who went 0-for-3 as the DH.

Like a lot of other folks, Aaron Hicks had some doubts whether MLB could pull off a 60-game schedule during a pandemic.

“I doubted that whenever it happened with the Marlins,’’ Hicks said of the outbreak of COVID-19 during the first week of the schedule. “It seemed like more teams were coming out of nowhere with COVID. Yeah, there has been a couple of times.’’