Luke Voit wasn’t as animated as normal during pregame hours in the Yankees clubhouse.
But the reigning home run king’s bat was as loud as ever once the game started.
Voit returned to the Yankees with a home run, a controversial triple and a walk in four plate appearances Tuesday during a 6-5 loss to the Royals. The first-inning homer broke a scoreless tie and the seventh-inning triple set up pinch-runner Tyler Wade to score the go-ahead run on a wild pitch, but the Royals rallied for four runs in the top of the eighth.
“He was actually pretty calm walking in,” manager Aaron Boone said. “Usually you hear him walking by the coaches room.”
After slugging a MLB-best 22 home runs in the shortened 2020 season, Voit scuffled through 44 at-bats over 12 games between two stints on the injured list (partially torn meniscus, oblique strain) to begin 2021.
In some ways, Voit’s season is just beginning. He completed Sunday a five-game rehab stint at Double-A Somerset that included hitting one of the deepest home runs in the 22-year history of TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater, N.J.
“I flushed the first half,” Voit said. “This is the first game since the beginning of spring [training] that I’ve been healthy. There’s nothing wrong with me now. I feel great. It was good to get a week’s worth of games in so I have my legs under me, and I’m ready to get this team rolling into the All-Star break and go from there.”
Boone saw enough to stick Voit in the No. 3 hole, between Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. Voit, who entered hitting .182 with one home run, reached base three times for the first time this season.
“He had a really good walk at-bat when we were stringing together another rally,” Boone said of the fourth inning. “Fouled off a bunch of pitches, laid off some really close pitches, so it was really good to see him kind of locked in from the get-go.”
Wearing a camouflage headband underneath his batting helmet and with his top jersey button unfastened, Voit wasted no time embracing the fresh start by turning around the first pitch he saw — an 85 mph slider from Brady Singer.
“I’m always trying to do damage,” Voit said. “I got a hanging breaking ball and you have to do that. You can’t miss those.”
Voit came within inches of a second home run in the seventh, but two fans reached over the left-center-field fence, and their hands, Jarrod Dyson’s glove and the ball all converged. The ball landed on the warning track for a triple upheld by replay review. As for the slippery-handed fans, one voluntarily left before security arrived on the scene and the other was escorted out, others in the Section 135 crowd told The Post.
“I thought it was a homer,” Boone said while calling it “inconsequential” because the run scored anyway. “If no one is there, the ball goes over the fence. No one interfered with Dyson. It was clearly over his glove, but I understand that’s a close call there.”
Boone’s decision to pull Voit for Wade’s speed loomed large in the eighth when his spot in the lineup was due with the tying run on second base and one out. Pinch-hitter Rougned Odor popped out.