Luke Voit admits he’s probably going to be hobbling around Petco Park this week because of the foot injury that has dogged one of his dogs for most of the last few months.
But the major league home run leader plans to be in the Yankees’ lineup for Monday’s ALDS opener and all five games of the series, if it lasts that long.
"I’m excited, man," he said. "This is going to be fun. Really fun."
And Voit wants to play all nine innings of every game, too.
He was replaced by pinch runner Tyler Wade in the seventh inning of the Yankees’ 10-9 victory in Game 2 of the wild-card series on Wednesday in Cleveland, presumably for defense because the Yankees had the lead.
Manager Aaron Boone acknowledged that "Luke was not happy coming out of the game, understandably." It almost backfired when Cleveland tied the score in the bottom of the seventh and Voit’s spot in the order came up again in the eighth, with pinch hitter Clint Frazier striking out on three pitches in a big spot.
"Very frustrating," Voit said on Sunday as the Yankees worked out for Monday’s ALDS opener. "It’s a playoff game. It’s a chance for an elimination game for them. Obviously, I want to be out there. But again, I’ve got to trust what Aaron does and I have a great relationship with him. But I’m a competitor and I want to be out there with my team. I want to catch the last out instead of doing it from the side. But I trust what he’s trying to do."
Boone said he knows Voit’s football-like mentality is a good thing. Voit lost weight during baseball’s COVID-19 shutdown and hit 22 home runs, tops in the big leagues. Along the way, he earned praise from his manager and teammates for playing through an injury that makes him look as if he’s in pain most of the time.
"I think he’s shown since he’s been here — Luke’s a gamer," Boone said. "And Luke loves to compete. I think his passion and love for the game of baseball is something that I appreciate. I think his teammates appreciate [it]. And it’s been fun to continue to see him grow. He’s now a more veteran player in this league. Tightened up his routine and how he goes about things.
"He’s one of those tough, grind-it-out, always-wants-to-be-in-there [players]. I think we have a number of those guys who set that kind of good example, but I think he does it well."
The good news for Voit is the Yankees have played only two games since the regular season ended on Sept. 27. The bad news is they will have to play five days in a row if the ALDS goes the distance. That’s a minimum of 45 innings if he plays all nine in every game.
"For sure, [the time off between series] helps, I guess," Voit said. "It’s nice not having to wear cleats right now. I think that’s a big thing that kind of [ticks] it off a little bit. But it’s nice to be able to get a bunch of treatment done and wearing tennis shoes and stuff has been good and haven’t had any pain. But I’m sure it’ll find a way to come back in this series. But it’s something I’m going to just keep grinding through. You guys have seen me limping and stuff, but I’ll be fine."