NEW YORK -- The Yankees have not squeezed much power out of their first basemen so far this season, though that could change in about a week. Luke Voit, last year’s Major League home run leader, began a Minor League rehab assignment with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Tuesday.
Voit is expected to rejoin the big league club for a road trip that begins on May 11 against the Rays in St. Petersburg. Yankees manager Aaron Boone said that Voit would DH on Tuesday, then play six or seven innings in the field on Wednesday.
“We have a little bit of an outline of what we think the next week will look like for him,” Boone said. “I would say over the next seven or eight days, he's probably going to play five or six games to get built up. Hopefully, he’ll be able to join us at some point on the road trip.”
Voit elected to have surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee on March 29. The 30-year-old was among the Yankees’ most productive hitters last year, when he slashed .277/.338/.610 with 22 homers and 52 RBIs (157 OPS+).
"I’ve been champing at the bit, watching every game at home,” Voit said on Friday. “I want to come back, and I miss the guys. It’s felt like I’ve been gone for two months. I can’t wait.”
Because Scranton/Wilkes-Barre is opening the Triple-A season on the road in Syracuse, N.Y., the Yankees considered having Voit rehab with Double-A Somerset, which plays its home games in Bridgewater, N.J. Boone said that the Yankees felt “everything lined up better” with Voit facing Triple-A competition.
“I think they're there [in Syracuse] for four days, so there were a lot of factors and a lot of things to consider,” Boone said. “In the end, going with Scranton made the most sense.”
Catch me if you can
Yankees starters were 5-0 with a 0.96 ERA over a six-game stretch that bobbed the club back to the .500 mark, coinciding with Kyle Higashioka receiving more regular playing time.
Tuesday marked Higashioka’s fifth start behind the plate in seven games, partnered with right-hander Domingo Germán. Boone said that he plans to have Gary Sánchez catch left-hander Jordan Montgomery on Wednesday.
“It's something that I don't take lightly; I've been putting a lot of thought in,” Boone said. “It was a close decision for me, frankly, and I'm kind of treating it day by day with both guys. I expect them both to play and share the position.”
Back and forth
Michael King is in his fourth stint with the Yankees already this season, though the right-hander’s shuttling between the big leagues and the alternate training site has been a product of a roster crunch rather than performance.
Crediting his cutter and sinker mix, King has spun 11 scoreless innings across three appearances to begin the year. He and teammate Aroldis Chapman are two of six relievers in the Majors not to allow a run in at least 10 innings this year, entering play on Tuesday.
“You never want to get sent down, and my mom always has a line: she calls it a 10-second pity party,” King said. “So I definitely use those 10 seconds, but after that, I know it’s not going to do me any good sitting and pouting or getting angry. After those 10 seconds go away, I just say, ‘All right, let’s move forward.’ The next time I get my opportunity, I’ll continue to make it a hard decision for them to send me down.”
He said it
“I'm just kind of sick of not being as good as I know I should be out there. In the spring I had, I was feeling really good. I just know I can be better, so I'm trying to be that.” -- Montgomery
This date in Yankees history
May 4, 1997: Jorge Posada hit the first of his 275 Major League homers in the Yankees’ 13-5 victory over the Royals at Kauffman Stadium, a seventh-inning shot off Jim Converse.