There will be a Luke Voit-sized void in the Yankees lineup. Which is to say, a very large void.
The Yankees Tuesday placed Voit on the 10-day injured list with a low-grade abdominal strain, retroactive to June 30 — the 22nd Yankee to end up on the IL so far this season. The Yankees hope Voit, who hurt himself during the London series, will be able to recover and return the weekend after the All-Star break, a series against the Blue Jays in Toronto to kick off the second half, Aaron Boone said. That, though, would seem to depend on what Voit is able to do during the break, which starts Monday, and likely how much discomfort he’s in.
In the meantime, Edwin Encarnacion stands to get a bulk of the playing time at first base. Encarnacion was slotted there against the Mets at Citi Field Tuesday and will play there Wednesday, Boone said. When the Yankees get the DH back Thursday against the Rays, Encarnacion probably will play one or two games of the four-game series,, with DJ LeMahieu taking the rest.
“He’s been so good,” Boone said of Voit who, before Sunday, had managed to avoid the injury curse that has followed the Yankees around all year. “He’s such a consistent performer for us, an energy giver in the clubhouse, obviously. A guy who means a lot to our team behind the scenes.”
Boone said Voit was taking ground balls, hitting, and otherwise feeling pretty good Sunday in London, but an MRI revealed the low-grade strain and, “we just feel like it’s something that we don’t want him to hurt any worse.”
This Yankees lineup has proven very adept at filling in for big bats as the team didn’t lag when Giancarlo Stanton went down, or Aaron Judge, for that matter. So too, then, will they likely find a way to work around Voit’s absence. He’s compiled a slash line of .280/.393/.509, with 17 home runs and 50 RBIs. Encarnacion, though, has some mighty pop, hitting 24 homers with 55 RBIs, but he also had a .226 batting average, and a .149 average since coming to the Yankees from Seattle.
Encarnacion went 1-for-4 with two strikeouts on Tuesday, including one with one on in the ninth inning. He also couldn't make a pick on an errant throw by D.J. LeMahieu to lead off the eighth inning, helping to spark the Mets three-run rally. That player, Pete Alonso, eventually scored to tie the score at 2.
“Absolutely,” Boone said about his lineup’s ability to compensate for all the absences. “Our lineup tonight is certainly very capable of going out and having a great performance. That’s our expectation.”
Boone said he doesn’t believe that the turf in London led to Voits injury but that, truthfully, it would be impossible to know. The field certainly played quicker, though Boone said he didn’t think it was too different from Tropicana Field in Tampa or Toronto’s Rogers Centre.
“It’s just by and large really good at-bats every day,” Boone said of Voit. “The ability to get on base, the ability to hit for power. He’s gotten a lot of big hits for us. He’s done a really good job. I feel like when he’s gotten into a little rut for a couple of days, he’s able to correct pretty quickly. Since we got him in the trade last year, he’s been a great player for us.”