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Luke Voit able to return to lineup without a rehab assignment

New York Yankees' Luke Voit returns to the

New York Yankees' Luke Voit returns to the dugout after he strikes out looking to end an MLB baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium on Saturday, July 13, 2019. The Blue Jays won 2-1. Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Luke Voit spent his All-Star break in Tampa, but he certainly wasn’t on a vacation.

The Yankees’ power-hitting first baseman didn’t want to have to go through a minor-league rehab assignment once his stint on the 10-day injured list was over. After suffering an abdominal strain June 29 against the Red Sox in the London Series, he took advantage of the additional four days during the All-Star break at the club's training facility in Tampa and was able to return straight to the Yankees' lineup Saturday.

“I wanted to come here right away,” Voit said. “I didn’t feel like I needed a rehab. It was quick and I also got a break, too, which is nice considering I didn’t really have an All-Star break, but I still got a week off.”

Voit, who was placed on the injured list July 2, missed eight games. He batted third and started at first base Saturday against the Blue Jays at the Stadium, and he was at the plate in the ninth inning with the game’s fate in his hands.

After the Yankees were held scoreless through eight innings, Voit stepped to the plate with two outs and runners on first and third after back-to-back two-out singles by DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Judge. After forcing his fourth full count of the game, Voit was called out on a  fastball that appeared to catch the inside corner as the Yankees fell to the Blue Jays, 2-1.

After going 0-for-3 with two walks and two strikeouts, Voit said he felt comfortable.

“I had good at-bats. Obviously, the last two, they made good pitches — they’re big-league pitchers — but I felt good overall,” he said. “It’s frustrating because I had a chance to help the team win the game today and didn’t come through, but it’s baseball. It’s going to happen sometimes.”

Before the game, Boone said he and Voit spoke Thursday about a return plan, and the two agreed he was capable of going straight into the lineup without a rehab assignment.

“Kind of thought he checked all the boxes and it wasn’t long enough down,” Boone said. “We felt he was ready to rejoin, so excited to get him back in.”

Voit said part of the reason he felt he was ready to rejoin the team without a minor-league rehab assignment was because of the work done at the Yankees’ facility in Tampa. And he was looking forward to returning to the Bronx.

“Getting down in Tampa and getting all my work in kind of reminded me of spring training,” he said. “I was able to hit off the machine and get consistent [batting practice], ground balls and do everything I needed to do to get back out here.”

Voit has a .277/.393/.503 slash line, 17 home runs, 50 RBIs and 53 runs scored in 79 games. His mere presence in the clubhouse and lineup put a smile on Boone’s face.

“Obviously, [he’s] a guy who gets on base a ton, another power bat just to add a little bit more length to our lineup,” Boone said. “So it was good to see him walk in with all his bags and his muscles this morning.”

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