In a season that has been remarkable for how well they have overcome a slew of injuries, the Yankees now have another.
Luke Voit has been diagnosed with a sports hernia and could miss six weeks if it is determined in the next day or two that he requires surgery.
Voit, who is batting .278 with 19 home runs and 54 RBIs, was removed from Tuesday night’s loss to the Diamondbacks at the Stadium and sent for an MRI exam. He grimaced after striking out swinging to end the third inning, and manager Aaron Boone reported that he’d said he had trouble “getting loose” even before the game.
“With Luke, it’s a sports hernia and I think over the next 24 hours we’ll probably determine a course of action. It’s one of those things that could be treated in a day-to-day scenario or it could turn into a surgery situation, which would be more of a six-week type of thing,” Boone said at his pregame news conference Wednesday. “So we haven’t [decided] that. Sometimes you’re able to treat this thing and it becomes a day-to-day thing. Sometimes surgery is the necessary way to go. So that will be determined over the next 24-48 hours.
"I'm not confident he'll be back in six weeks if he has the surgery," GM Brian Cashman said. "I think the standard doctor evaluation from a specialist would be six weeks and stuff, but then you've got to factor in baseball activities and baseball game-ready … which usually adds on to the time frame."
The Yankees placed him on the 10-day injured list before Wednesday’s series finale against Arizona. It also placed righthander David Hale on the IL with a back strain and back-dated it three days. The hope is he could be back in a week, but Boone said “we’ll see how it unfolds the next couple days but hopefully it’s not a long thing.”
Edwin Encarnacion was the starting first baseman for Wednesday’s game. The Yankees called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre righthanded reliever Jonathan Holder and infielder Breyvic Valera.
Voit spent time on the IL earlier this month with an abdominal strain that cost him seven games, though it is unclear whether the two injuries are related.
“I guess that’s possible that there’s some correlation there. I think this is something that, frankly, goes back before that,” Boone said. “That’s probably something that’s been in there for awhile, the sports hernia, that’s kind of declared itself now, is the best way I can put it. Is it somehow tied or related to that? Maybe, but I think this probably goes back even a little further.”
DJ LeMahieu has been sidelined for a week with a groin issue suffered during the weekend series in Boston. Boone did not start him Wednesday in hopes that he can get an extra couple days of rest with Thursday’s day off and then return for the four-game series with the Red Sox that the Yankees host starting Friday.
“I’ve been tempted to put him in there frankly last night as well as today, but I feel we have to play a little bit of a long game here and don’t want to risk injuring him further,” Boone said. “That said, if we’re in a big spot today, I’d probably go to him as a hitter. He’s doing well but with these off days and obviously how important he is to our club and the stretch we’re about to enter [19 games in 17 days], I think it’s important to be smart about it as well.”
If Voit is lost for the six weeks, Boone believes the Yankees have enough to get through it.
“We will,” Boone said. “Obviously the news on DJ is good so we feel like from an infield standpoint we’re certainly covered at first. We’ll manage and we’ll be fine. And hopefully it’s a shorter-term situation with Luke but, worst-case, hopefully we’ll have him back before the end of the season and we have the people capable of withstanding.”