Luke Voit adding more than a big bat in Yankees return

When Luke Voit came back from the injured list the first time this season, he got off to an 0-for-10 start at the plate.

This time around, the Yankees’ first baseman has announced his return much more emphatically.

Voit rejoined a lineup that was beginning to find its footing and added an immediate punch, going 4-for-13 with two home runs, a triple and a walk-off single in his first series back, against the Royals. And it’s not just the at-bats that are noticeable to his opponents.

“He’s one of these guys that, he brings an attitude to them,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said Friday before opening a series against the Yankees at Fenway Park. “He brings confidence. It’s not that they were lacking that a month ago or whatever, but he brings another good at-bat and he’s not afraid. He goes up there, he shows emotion and sometimes you need that.”

Voit was in the midst of his second stint on the injured list, with a strained oblique, when the Yankees were swept by the Red Sox in The Bronx earlier this month. Since then, they have shown more promise of being the offense they expected to be, and Voit’s presence only adds to that threat.

Yankees' Luke Voit celebrates with third base coach Phil Nevin (88) after hitting a home run in the third inning.
Luke Voit has brought more than a big bat back to the Yankees’ lineup.
Bill Kostroun

“I think there’s no question that when Luke Voit is healthy and in our lineup, it’s another heavyweight in the order,” manager Aaron Boone said. “It adds length to our order. It’s just another elite power bat to have to get through. His presence is huge. We talk about adding length and being a heavy lineup, he’s right in the middle of all that.”

The Yankees, entering Friday, were 11-4 this season with Voit in the lineup. He was absent for their early season woes, missing the first 34 games after knee surgery in March. MLB’s 2020 home run champ hit just one long ball in 12 games upon his return before going back on the IL at the end of May.

But Voit’s second return has been a different story. He has offered flashes of the vital bat — both for power and average — that the Yankees have gotten from him since he arrived in The Bronx in 2018.

“He’s a great hitter, and has been,” Boone said. “He’s demonstrated that consistently in this league over the last few years. Felt really good about his rehab and that first and foremost physically he was in a really good place. But by design, we were able to get him several at-bats in the lead up. Felt like he was absolutely ready to go when he came here. When you have a really good hitter and a really good offensive player, if he comes out and is banging right away, it doesn’t surprise me.”


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