NEW YORK — Luke Voit was a ball of energy. He was excited as he talked about his rehab from knee surgery. The 2020 Home Run champ was coming off his first live at-bats since having his left knee surgically repaired and is anxious to get back to playing games, which will begin Tuesday for him in the minor leagues.
“I’ve been chomping at the bit. Obviously watching every game at home and it’s frustrating,” Voit said on Friday. “You want to be there with the boys and I know some of them are pressing a little bit and try to do too much, but hey, these guys had a good road trip. Obviously didn’t come out like they wanted to yesterday, but I trust these boys are gonna get the job done.”
“I want to come back and I missed the guys. Feels like they’ve been gone for like you know two months, but I can’t wait,” Voit said. “I’m dying.”
The first baseman will open the minor league season with the Double-A Somerset Yankees, Aaron Boone said before Friday’s series opener against the Tigers at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees manager said he was encouraged by Voit’s rehab.
Voit said he is running and cutting on the field in cleats and feels no issues after having the partially torn meniscus in his left knee repaired last month. He began taking live at-bats against pitchers at the Yankees’ Alternate Site in Scranton on Thursday. The next step will be minor league rehab games, which he will need several.
“I don’t really have a particular number. I’m sure it’ll probably be like a week’s worth of games. Probably something like that, maybe,,” Voit said. “I just got to get at bats and that’s the big thing. I feel pretty good with my endurance right now but again I know they want to obviously make sure I feel great for when I return.”
Voit, who hit 22 home runs to lead all of baseball in last year’s COVID-19 pandemic abbreviated season, has watched as the Yankees have struggled offensively to start the season. They enter play on Friday tied for last in the division and are ranked 25th in baseball with 92 runs scored. That is after having gone on a 5-3 road trip, which helped them climb back up the ranks on the home run list. The Bombers hit 15 in the eight games on the road and now have 32 homers, tied with the Angels for fourth most in baseball. They are 19th in OPS with .679 and 22nd in slugging at .369.
“Obviously, it’s frustrating. It’s not the good start we wanted,” Voit said, but added if the Bombers get hot in June and July the rough start will be forgotten.
”We just got to get clicking. The weather has been kind of crappy and obviously guys are still getting into the groove and everything. I know these boys are gonna turn around, we got a bunch of All Stars in this team … and it’s just a matter of time. That road trip showed that we have the capability to do it now we got to take advantage of this weekend and get back in front of our home fans and do some damage.”
Heading into the last game of the first month of the season, the Yankees were 11-14 and scrambling a little bit to find themselves. They could use not just Voit’s bat, but a large dose of his energy.
“I mean he brings a unique personality to our room. A guy that obviously plays the game with a lot of energy and a lot of fire and is a guy that I think, as we saw last year, goes to the post even when he’s bagged up and is able to be productive in those kinds of scenarios,” Boone said. “Luke loves to play the game and loves the competition of it and I know that’s the biggest thing that’s getting at him right now because now he’s feeling well. He wants to get back in there and compete with the boys and there’s a lot of intangible things he brings to this group from an energy and an intensity standpoint.”
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