TAMPA — The final time Luke Voit performed in a sport that mattered, the Yankees’ season ended with a Game 5 ALDS loss to the Rays.
Before that sport, Voit tried to pull a Joe Namath and vowed, “We are going to win it.”
After that loss final October, Voit didn’t again down, saying on ESPN, “We will get them next year.”
So maybe it’s becoming that Voit is about to make his season debut Tuesday night time against the Rays after lacking the primary 34 video games of the season whereas rehabbing from surgery to repair a partially torn meniscus in his left knee suffered throughout spring coaching.
Regardless of the timing, the Yankees might use him.
Coming off a 7-2 homestand that featured a sweep of Detroit and sequence wins over Houston and Washington, the offense has shaken off a few of its early-season doldrums.
Still, first base has been a large number for a lot of the 12 months, with Jay Bruce, Mike Ford and even Miguel Andujar seeing time there when DJ LeMahieu is elsewhere within the infield.
Voit, who led the majors with 22 homers through the abbreviated 2020 season, hit nicely throughout his rehab stint with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. It’s a superb signal, though almost everybody within the SWB lineup has put up gaudy numbers.
That consists of Miguel Andujar, who was optioned again to SWB following Sunday’s win over Washington in The Bronx after going hitless in 9 at-bats.
But Voit’s résumé suggests he’ll present a big boost to the lineup and his outspoken method figures to additionally make an impression within the clubhouse.
Aaron Boone mentioned Sunday he was “very’’ excited to get Voit again.
“He’s an impact hitter, an impact bat,’’ Boone said. “He adds a little bit more length, a little bit more heaviness to our lineup.”
That’s actually true against Tampa Bay, a staff that even Boone admitted “has obviously had our number a little bit here the last several months.”
The Rays took eight of 10 video games from the Yankees final common season earlier than knocking them out of the playoffs. So far this season, the Yankees have dropped 5 of six to Tampa Bay, because the groups enter the sequence in a digital tie for second place within the AL East behind the Red Sox.
Voit has traditionally pounded Rays’ pitching, with a 1.010 OPS in 118 regular-season plate appearances. And even at Tropicana Field, a troublesome place to hit, Voit has a profession .906 OPS.
Voit’s capacity to hit each righties and lefties ought to assist steadiness out a lineup that has the perfect OPS within the American League when going through left-handers, however is best than solely the Orioles within the AL when it comes to OPS against right-handers.
While Giancarlo Stanton has currently seemed like he’s again in MVP type, the Yankees have waited a lot of the season for a few of their different middle-of-the-order bats to get going, from Gleyber Torres, to Aaron Hicks, to Gary Sanchez.
The new ball being utilized by Major League Baseball has affected hitters in a different way and it stays to be seen what impression it may need on Voit, who — when wholesome — is as harmful as virtually anybody within the Yankees’ lineup.
Voit struggled throughout spring coaching earlier than being sidelined, however there’s little doubt the distinction he’ll make within the lineup.
Perhaps probably the most vital problem he and the Yankees will face will likely be retaining him wholesome. He has already missed over a month this 12 months. Last season, Voit was slowed by plantar fasciitis — though it didn’t damage his productiveness. But in 2019, the stomach harm he suffered midseason made him much less efficient on the plate within the second half.
Beginning Tuesday, although, Voit will likely be again, feeling good — and perhaps simply what the Yankees want to alter their fortunes against the Rays.