Mets infielder Luke Voit during a spring training workout, Monday...

Mets infielder Luke Voit during a spring training workout, Monday Feb. 19, 2024 in Port St. Lucie FL. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Luke Voit is back for what he was denied last summer: a chance to mash with the Mets.

The former Yankees first baseman returned on a minor-league contract with an invitation to major-league spring training, it was announced Monday. Voit chose the Mets over several teams making similar offers because he liked his chances on this depth chart.

The Mets did not sign a DH during the offseason. Mark Vientos is the top in-house candidate. Voit, who led the majors in home runs in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, said he sees an opening to make the team “right away.”

“I’ve had to win jobs before,” Voit said, citing his 2019 spring training battle with Greg Bird.

“I’m up for a competition . . . I felt like [based on] the talks I had with my agent and the front office that there definitely is the ability to make the team and get a chance to play. I had other offers, but they would’ve been similar possibly to what I did last year, be a role player.

“I’m not saying that I’m going to play every day, but I’m going to try to force my way into the lineup.”

Vientos, DJ Stewart and the recently signed Ji Man Choi are eyeing a DH/bench bat role, too. Voit, 33, is the candidate with whom manager Carlos Mendoza is the most familiar, given their overlapping Yankees tenures.

“We’ve been talking a lot about depth, and he provides that,” Mendoza said.

“We know the power. We know he’s a righthanded bat. He’ll be right there in the competition. I’m excited to have him and watch him play again.”

Voit performed poorly in a part-time role with the Brewers last year, batting .221 with a .548 OPS in 22 games across six weeks.

He later spent about that long with Triple-A Syracuse, hitting 14 homers in 37 games. When the Mets didn’t call him up, he opted out of his contract (and didn’t get another job).

“I didn’t know what else I really had to do in Triple-A,” he said. “I understand at that point they were selling [at the trade deadline] and they wanted to play all their young guys, but it’s a business, and that’s what a lot of other teams said too when I opted out.

“I got to be home with my family. I got two little kids, so it was a little bit of a blessing to be home with my wife. But I’m a baseball player. I wanted to be back on the diamond. The Mets came calling. I felt like it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”

Spring scenes

New manager Carlos Mendoza spoke for about 15 minutes to the Mets when they gathered as a group for the first time in 2024 before their first full-squad workout. 

He had thought about that moment for months, if not years, and arrived with notes prepared. He ditched them once he started talking, he said.

His themes: togetherness, standards and winning. He said players and coaches came up to him afterward to say "good job.''

“It came out naturally,” he said. “That was the biggest thing for me: I wanted them to know where I was coming from. I talked a lot about expectations and our goals, setting the tone from day one.”

Francisco Lindor said: “You can tell he’s poised.”

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