Voit nearing return; Yanks' Honorary Bat Girl

May 9th, 2021

has been tearing it up in his Minor League rehab assignment with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and the Yankees expect him to be able to bring that production to the big league club very soon.

The target date for Voit’s return from a torn meniscus in his left knee has long been the Yankees’ series against the Rays, which begins on Tuesday, and manager Aaron Boone stuck to that timeline ahead of Sunday’s series finale vs. the Nationals.

“I do. I do think he’ll be back in play for the Rays series,” Boone said of Voit’s potential season debut. “Think he’s DHing again today, and we could possibly have him from there.”

In four games with Scranton over the past week entering Sunday, Voit has slashed .385/.467/.923 with two home runs in 13 at-bats. In the RailRiders’ 4-2 win over the Syracuse Mets on Saturday, the slugging first baseman launched a homer into the bullpen in left-center field on the first pitch of the game. Notably, he hit it off right-hander Jordan Yamamoto, who had been competing for a spot in the Mets’ starting rotation in Spring Training.

The Yankees already know what they have in the 30-year-old Voit, who hit .277 with 22 homers and 52 RBIs in 56 games last season, but Boone is even more excited for the infielder’s impending arrival, given what he has shown so far in his recovery process.

“I mean, very [excited],” Boone said. “He obviously is an impact hitter, an impact bat and just adds a little bit more length and a little bit more heaviness to our lineup, so it’ll be good to get him back. I feel like he’s in a good spot physically, he’s been able to rack up a lot of live at-bats here this week, so we’re looking forward to getting him back for sure.”

Yankees announce their “Honorary Bat Girl”
In honor of Mother’s Day, each MLB club selected an individual from its community as a representative for the annual “Honorary Bat Girl” initiative, which commemorates exemplary efforts to support the fight against breast cancer. The Yankees announced Saturday that Shelly Bleier from New York had been chosen as their 2021 honoree, and she was recognized during Sunday’s series finale against the Nationals.

Bleier’s fight against cancer began in 2013, when she was diagnosed with DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ -- which are abnormal cells within the milk duct of the breast) and had to undergo a lumpectomy and radiation. Then, last July, a growth in that same breast was determined to be triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), necessitating a double mastectomy. During that treatment process, she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer as well. This March, she spent six hours on the operating table, having both her thyroid removed and her breast reconstruction completed.

As has been tradition since 2006, players across MLB used pink bats and wore pink wristbands for the “Going To Bat Against Breast Cancer” initiative on Sunday. They also wore specially designed pink New Era caps, and their uniforms featured the MLB breast cancer awareness logo, adorned with the symbolic pink ribbon. Each club’s “Honorary Bat Girl” story can be found on MLB.com/HonoraryBatGirl.

Bombers bits
• Third baseman Gio Urshela, who has not played in the Nationals series due to an ailing left knee, will likely be back in the Yankees’ lineup for Tuesday’s series opener vs. Tampa Bay, according to Boone.

“That’s the hope. He’s going to go through some baseball activities today to get him going. I know he’s probably started the process. So we’ll see how he responds today -- and obviously with the off-day tomorrow -- hopefully we’ll see where we’re at then.”

• Second baseman Rougned Odor, who went on the 10-day injured list with a left knee sprain on Wednesday, took swings and did infield work prior to Sunday’s game. Boone said he’s doing well, but the skipper is adopting a wait-and-see approach for his potential return as he ramps up to baseball activities.

He said it
“Obviously I come from a baseball family with my dad, brothers, grandfather all playing. But my mom was the one that was there all the time, all of our games, our biggest fan, biggest supporter. My mom still to this day is on the edge of her seat every Yankee game -- watching, living and dying with us. I’ve just been blessed to have a loving, supportive mom throughout my life.” -- Boone on his mom, Sue

This date in Yankees history
May 9, 2002: In a 3-1 Yankees victory over Tampa Bay, Mariano Rivera picked up career save No. 225, surpassing Dave Righetti (224) to establish a new franchise record.