NEW YORK -- Luke Voit said that he is "dying" to get back on the field as the Yankees first baseman prepares for his first Minor League rehabilitation games, targeting a mid-May return as he recovers from left meniscus surgery performed late this spring.
"I’ve been champing at the bit, watching every game at home,” Voit said on Friday, as the Yankees opened a weekend series with the Tigers at Yankee Stadium. “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.”
Voit is slated to begin playing for Double-A Somerset early next week as the Patriots -- based in Bridgewater, N.J. -- start their first season as a Yankees farm club. Voit said that he expects to play in about a week’s worth of games, building from five innings to seven and then back-to-back days of nine.
He has been working out at the Yanks’ alternate training site in Moosic, Pa., but Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre is opening its schedule on the road. Yankees manager Aaron Boone suggested that Voit could be activated for a big league road trip that begins on May 11 against the Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla.
“The silver lining in all of this is, I think he’s really glad he went through with [the surgery] because of how good he’s feeling right now,” Boone said.
While at the alternate training site, Voit said he has been running sprints with spikes on, hitting and fielding ground balls. Voit participated in live at-bats on the diamond at PNC Field on Thursday and said that he made good contact against the hurlers there, including right-hander Adam Warren.
“I feel like I’m in a good spot and ready to go,” Voit said. “I’ve just got to get at-bats, and that’s the big thing. I feel pretty good with my endurance right now. I know they want to make sure I feel great for when I return.”
Aaron Judge returned to the Yankees’ lineup on Friday after resting the last two games of the series at Baltimore due to what was described as “lower body soreness.”
Considering that issue, Boone said that he expects to monitor Judge’s performance closely during the homestand. Judge also missed time earlier this month with soreness in his left side.
“I think with Aaron, with all our guys, you're trying to monitor things as closely as you can, and so you definitely keep an eye on them,” Boone said. “But I look forward to him getting back in there for us, certainly.”
Easy being Green
Chad Green has been a standout contributor to the Yankees’ early-season relief success, with the staff entering play on Friday with a 2.31 bullpen ERA, the second best in the Majors (Toronto is ever so slightly ahead at 2.30).
Green tossed two perfect innings of relief in a 32-pitch appearance on Thursday, striking out four of the six batters he faced. The right-hander entered Friday with an 0.59 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 12 appearances, holding opponents to a .146/.180/.208 slash line (7-for-48).
“I think we take a lot of pride in what we do and what we can bring to the table every day,” Green said. “I think it's pretty easy to piggyback when guys are pitching well. I think we have some great conversations about what we're trying to accomplish every day; great game plans. Guys are executing pitches in big spots right now, so we're just going to try to continue to do that. It's been fun to watch.”
The Yankees will finish April below the .500 mark. The last time they finished below .500 in a full month was August 2017 (14-15).
This date in Yankees history
April 30, 1939: An ailing Lou Gehrig played in his last Major League game, going hitless in a 3-2 Yankees loss to the Senators. Gehrig asked manager Joe McCarthy to take him out of the lineup before the Yanks’ next contest on May 2 at Detroit, snapping his streak of 2,130 consecutive games played.