NEW YORK -- Luke Voit ran the bases and took grounders on the Yankee Stadium infield on Friday, and the first baseman believes that he will soon be able to return to the lineup, thus avoiding what could have been a season-ending surgical procedure.
Voit has not played since July 30 due to a sports hernia, but the slugger said he has been pain-free for several days. The Yankees have cleared Voit to continue on-field workouts with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre beginning on Monday, with Minor League rehab games to follow.
"I know I'm going there to take BP and do baseball activities, kind of like Spring Training, I guess," Voit said. "It's just getting used to taking BP every day, grounders, getting workouts and everything. Then I'll play Thursday or Friday."
Voit, 28, has been among the Yankees' offensive leaders this season, batting .278/.392/.493 with 19 homers, 16 doubles, a triple and 54 RBIs in 94 games.
"We've been really excited about Luke over the last week, realizing that he's going to be able to get back," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.
Asked if he could return during the Yankees' upcoming West Coast trip, Voit said it might make more sense to wait until the club opens a homestand on Aug. 30, two days ahead of the roster-expansion date.
"In the back of my mind, I want to make sure I'm ready," Voit said. "I'm more concerned about playing in October than playing in Seattle or something like that."
One night after the Yankees turned to designated hitter Mike Ford to get the final six outs from the mound, Boone said that the idea of a so-called "mercy rule" could have a place in the modern baseball environment, where pitchers' workloads are monitored and protected ardently.
"There might be some merit to that and worth exploring," Boone said. "It's not fun to have to put in a position player in that kind of situation, even though I think for Ford and some of the guys, it's fun and guys can have some fun with that. But sitting in my chair, you worry about hurting someone. You hate throwing up a flag like that. Getting kicked in the mouth is no fun."
Boone said that with Thursday's eventual 19-5 loss out of hand, he could have turned to Nestor Cortes Jr. for more than one out, but that would have sapped the left-hander's availability for the rest of the weekend. Once Ford took the ball, the Yankees had surrendered all realistic hope of a comeback, so Boone said he could have ended the game if such a mechanism had been in place.
"I think there would be a lot of benefit to that," Boone said. "You'd probably eliminate a lot of the unwritten rules of people running or swinging at 3-0 pitches and the 'wrong scores.'"
Dull was claimed on waivers from the Giants and added to the 40-man roster on Wednesday. The 29-year-old allowed 13 runs (12 earned) in nine innings this year for the Athletics (12.00 ERA).
This date in Yankees history
Aug. 16, 1974: Thurman Munson hit the only walk-off homer of his career, launching a deep drive off Terry Forster of the White Sox in a 9-8, 13-inning victory at Shea Stadium.