The injury bug continues for the unlucky New York Yankees with power-hitting first baseman Luke Voit becoming the 21st member of the Yanks to suffer an injury and spend time on the IL this season.
Voit, 28, suffered an abdominal strain injury during the first London game over the weekend. After starting off 4-for-4, he left the game early after apparently injuring himself while legging out a double. The Yankees beat the Red Sox 17-13 in an offensive outburst during the first game on British soil and the first MLB game in Europe. But they lost Voit in the process in the latest episode of the Yankees horror series, “Bronx ER.”
This season, Voit smacked 17 home runs with 50 RBI. His slashline is .280/.393/.509.
Luckily, the Yankees have two capable backups with Edwin Encarnacion and All-Star DJ LeMahieu. The Yanks acquired DH/1B Edwin Encarnacion from the Seattle Mariners. Brain Cashman got him solely to play DH and occasionally spell Voit at first base. However, with Voit out and the Yankees currently playing interleague games without a DH, Encarnacion got the nod at first base.
When the Yanks return to AL opponents, DJ LeMahieu will see more time at first base. LeMahieu made the All-Star team and he’s leading the AL in hitting. Even though LeMahieu won a Gold Gloves at second base the last two seasons, he’ll play wherever he’s needed the most. Aaron Boone slotted him at 3B, 2B, and 1B in the last week.
Voit, No Fluke
New York loves rags-to-riches stories and heroes who sort of came out of nowhere, like Voit last season when the Yankees acquired him in a trade with his hometown St. Louis Cardinals. The metrics team on the Yankees like a lot of things about Voit that other teams were overlooking. He didn’t strike out a lot and had underrated power. He struggled with the Cardinals and never really got an opportunity to play every day.
Voit, who looked more like a football player than a baseball player, made an immediate impact in a short period of time with the Yanks last season with 14 home runs in 39 games. Fans went into the winter break hoping he was not a fluke like previous short-time bashers like Shane Spencer.
Voit emerged this Spring on a mission to prove everyone he was no fluke. He won out the first baseman’s job over Greg Bird, even though Bird was a better defender, Bird struggled at the plate. Voit’s power and plate discipline won him the gig. When Bird went on the IL with a foot injury, Voit didn’t have to look over his shoulder and worry about Bird taking his spot.
At several points this season, Voit carried the Replacement Yankees particularly right after Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton went on the IL. The Yanks needed someone to fill the power void, and Voit stepped up.
“He’s been so good. Such a consistent performer for us,” manager Aaron Boone told beat reporters. “An energy-giver in the clubhouse as well, obviously. A guy that means a lot to our team behind the scenes.”
The Yanks sent Voit on the IL retroactive from Sunday. He should be able to return to action in the first series after the All-Star Break.