TAMPA, Fla. – Aaron Boone wore a “Luke Voit” T-shirt in the Yankees clubhouse on Wednesday afternoon. Does that mean he’s going to have to wear a “Greg Bird” T-shirt on Thursday?
Voit and Bird have played well in spring training, but both Boone and general manager Brian Cashman have said Voit has a “leg up” on the first-base job. The burly Voit has done nothing to lose the job and plenty to keep it.
Voit, the DH and cleanup hitter on Wednesday vs. the Phillies, went 1-for-3 with an RBI and is batting .280. Bird, who played first and hit seventh, went 1-for-2 with an RBI and is batting .357.
Boone said he already has started mapping out regular-season lineups with Voit hitting anywhere from third to sixth. Unless something unusual happens, all signs – and not just T-shirts — point to Voit in the Bronx for the March 28 opener with Bird at Triple-A.
“I don’t even know if in my mind I look at it as competition,” Boone said when asked to handicap the first-base battle. “The hard part about it for me is, inevitably, if we go one way or another, I feel so good about both guys. I feel like we’re looking at two impact players. So that’s the difficult part about it. But we’re not there yet. I’m just excited that both guys are in such a good place and really looking the part right now.”
Opening Day starter Masahiro Tanaka was charged with two runs in 3 2/3 innings. Tanaka gave up six hits, walked none and struck out six. Giancarlo Stanton hit his second home run, a drive over the scoreboard in left.
Boone said Aaron Hicks felt better after getting a cortisone shot in his back on Monday. “I think they are going to take it slow as far as building him back up,” Boone said. Hicks has been out since March 1.