Luke Voit led the Majors in home runs last season, punctuating most of his 22 blasts with a Sammy Sosa-like skip to begin his trots around the bases. It is a display that the Yankees have sorely missed this season, part of the reason why they are looking forward to the first baseman’s potential return this weekend.
Currently rehabbing with Double-A Somerset as he comes back from a Grade 2 right oblique strain, Voit believes he could rejoin the big league roster as soon as Sunday vs. Oakland. Yankees manager Aaron Boone acknowledged that timeline is possible, though Tuesday vs. Kansas City is also in play.
“Everything feels great,” Voit said. “I’m ready to go; the oblique is fine, the rest of the body is feeling good. Honestly, I just want to get some at-bats, get my timing, and hit some different pitches. I’ll be ready to go when they call me back up.”
Voit began the season on the injured list as he recovered from surgery to repair a torn left meniscus performed in late March. He traces the oblique injury in part to his second at-bat of the regular season on May 11, when he was hit on the right hand by the Rays’ Luis Patiño.
“I think it changed my mechanics in my swing,” Voit said. “I think I started overdoing it with my right side to overcompensate. That’s the only thing I can point to because I’ve never had an injury there before. It’s my right side, too; most [right-handed hitters] hurt their left sides when they hurt their obliques.”
Voit, 30, batted .277/.338/.610 (157 OPS+) during the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign, his 22 homers edging José Abreu of the White Sox (19) for the big league lead.
“Luke Voit is an impact offensive player for us, and so big to our lineup,” Boone said. “I don’t think it’s a reach to say when you’re missing a guy of his caliber, that has an effect on you.”
Voit hit just .182/.280/.250 with one homer and three RBIs in 12 games this year before returning to the injured list in late May.
“It’s been a very frustrating year for me so far,” Voit said. “I’ve just got to look to the future; have good health for the rest of the year, take care of myself, try to have an unbelievable second half and help us get to the playoffs.”
“I think there’s been some guys developing nasty curveballs and sliders out of nowhere. That might raise an eyebrow or two,” Green said. “But the guys that have been doing it for a while in this league are going to have no problem adjusting to the new rules. The guys that are good are still going to be really good.”
Green said he would be in favor of MLB producing a sanctioned substance that both hitters and pitchers would be comfortable with. He does not expect the pending crackdown to dramatically inflate offense league-wide.
“Guys are still going to be able to control the ball the way they have in the past,” Green said. “I don’t think you’re going to see runs skyrocket.”
He said it
“It’s going to be great to play with our fans, our stadium full. That pushes us to play better, gives us more energy to play better. I love to have the stadium 100 percent.” -- Rougned Odor, on Yankee Stadium returning to full capacity on Friday
• Voit said he has been “really impressed” by right-hander Glenn Otto and outfielder Trey Amburgey during his time in the Minors, and could see both helping the big league squad this year. Otto is the Yanks’ No. 28 prospect, per MLB Pipeline.
• Even with Gary Sánchez swinging a hot bat, owning 10 hits in his last 29 at-bats (.345) with three homers and seven RBIs, Boone said he did not give much thought to breaking up the Gerrit Cole/Kyle Higashioka tandem on Wednesday.
Said Boone: “[Sánchez is] going to need a day off here in this stretch of games. I like the Higgy and Cole pairing, and it kind of builds a natural day [off] in there. Gary will be ready anytime in the game if we get in a big spot and we need his bat.”
This date in Yankees history
June 16, 1977: Ron Guidry allowed three hits and two walks, tossing the first of his 26 career shutouts with a 7-0 blanking of the Royals at Yankee Stadium. The game was completed in just two hours and two minutes.