Notes: Voit, Chapman shred; Tanaka progressing

July 8th, 2020

NEW YORK -- Luke Voit traded late-night snacks for long quarantine runs through his suburban St. Louis neighborhood, and the Yankees first baseman is proudly showing off the results through the early days of the club’s Summer Camp at Yankee Stadium.

Noticeably trimmer from when the Yankees scattered after Spring Training was shut down March 12, Voit said that he has shed 13 pounds from his listed weight of 255 pounds, attributing the change to “eating clean.”

“My wife [Tori] did a great job cooking,” Voit said on Tuesday. “It was not a lot of carbs, mostly meat and vegetables. I quit snacking late at night and I brought a lot of cardio to the table too. It was just being strict and not having as many cheat meals on the weekends.”

Voit said that he adhered to a schedule at his Wildwood, Mo., home, aiming to perform two days of cardiovascular exercise per week and beginning each of his weightlifting sessions with a one- to 1 1/2-mile run.

“I wanted to be really clean, just to be a little bit quicker for this year,” Voit said. “It worked out really well.”

One of the more energetic Yankees between the white lines, Voit said that he is in the process of adjusting to playing without fans in the stands as the Yanks prepare for the regular season.

“The weirdest part is walking out of the dugout when you're walking out to stretch in the field,” Voit said. “You’re used to getting a little ovation when you're running out, or you get the guys out in right field yelling at you.

“It's different, but it felt good to put the cleats on, the jersey back on, get those game reps. It kind of reminds me of college and fall ball, but overall I felt really good to be back out in the stadium again.”

Svelte ‘Missile’
If any of the Yankees’ relievers had been tempted to spend a few lazy April or May afternoons streaming seasons of Netflix shows, a visit to Aroldis Chapman’s Instagram page might have nudged them off the couch.

Chapman said on Tuesday that he returned to his Miami home intent upon trimming his 218-pound frame, and the shredded left-handed closer said he dropped 10 pounds while transforming fat into muscle.

“I wasn’t taking time off,” Chapman said through a translator. “I got home, I had my family around and I was basically practicing every day. I only took Sundays off. But other than that, it was continuous work.”

Chapman, who tossed in the bullpen on Tuesday, said that he anticipates making his intrasquad debut in the next several days. He said that one key to being successful this season will be blocking out what is transpiring outside of the stadium walls.

“It's a worldwide issue that everybody is having to go through,” Chapman said. “The biggest thing is my family. I will worry about my family and my kids. You want everybody to be safe. At the same time, once I step onto the field, I have to put everything aside and forget about anything that can distract me.”

Down the line
Masahiro Tanaka continues to show progress after being hit in the head by a Giancarlo Stanton line drive Saturday, but manager Aaron Boone said that it is uncertain if the right-hander will be ready to pitch when regular-season games begin on July 23.

“I just don't want to get into speculating too much day in and day out,” Boone said. “The reality is he's doing well, he's responded well, but we also want to be incredibly careful with this and make sure he's checking all the boxes while he's in concussion protocol.”

The Yankees’ rotation figures to include Gerrit Cole, James Paxton, J.A. Happ and Jordan Montgomery, but if Tanaka is not available for the start of the regular season, it could open a spot for other hopefuls.

Jonathan Loaisiga was in heavy consideration for a roster spot this spring, with pitching coach Matt Blake having said that the right-hander could have been used in a variety of roles. Clarke Schmidt, the Yanks’ No. 2 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, is among the talented young arms vying to make their presences felt.

“We feel really good about a lot of the options that we do have, a lot of our depth,” Boone said. “We haven't made any decisions by any means. These are important days to evaluate where guys are, but I do feel like we'll have good options as we get closer.”

Bombers bits
• Boone said that he believes right-hander Michael King, who pitched two scoreless innings with three strikeouts in Tuesday’s intrasquad game, could provide multi-inning work out of the bullpen or add depth to the rotation this season. King walked one and allowed a Gleyber Torres single.

• Kyle Higashioka was held out of Tuesday’s intrasquad game with neck soreness. The catcher had initially been listed as a designated hitter in the Bombers lineup that faced Gerrit Cole.

• Clint Frazier has been dealing with “a little bit of a foot issue” over the last couple of months, according to Boone, but he has “been able to do everything from running and playing the outfield, so we’re just kind of slow-playing him here these first couple of days.”

Up next
The Yankees will continue to hold Summer Camp workouts on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium. The YES Network will air two hours of coverage beginning at 3 p.m. ET.