Agonizing wait for Yankees return is ‘killing’ Luke Voit

Agonizing wait for Yankees return is ‘killing’ Luke Voit

A significant portion of the Yankees’ offensive issues have been related to underperformance. The same can’t be said about first base where the issue has been Luke Voit’s absence.

“Our first base position has been the worst in baseball, and that’s on me not being able to be there,” the hulking slugger said Wednesday via Zoom. “It’s frustrating not being able to partake and see what’s going on in the locker room, and being there for the guys.”

Left knee and right oblique injuries have led to Voit already missing 52 games, but he’s closing in on his return. He was in Bridgewater, N.J., on Wednesday preparing for the third game of his rehabilitation assignment with Double-A Somerset. The plan is for him to take the day off Thursday and, if all goes well, he could return to the Yankees as soon as Sunday or following the off day Tuesday. After missing so much action already this year, and watching his teammates struggle, he can’t wait to get back to The Bronx.

“I got to do some damage when I’m back out there,” he said. “I just want to get back. This is killing me.”

Luke VoitLuke VoitCharles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Voit’s absence, after leading the sport in home runs (22) last year while slashing .277/.338/.610 with a .948 OPS, has left a canyon-sized hole at first base. He missed the season’s first 34 games due to a torn meniscus in his left knee, and wasn’t right upon return, slashing .182/.280/.250 in 12 games. Then he suffered a right oblique strain on May 16 and has missed 18 more games.

“My second at-bat after I got back to the big leagues, I got hit in the hand,” he said. “I think it kind of changed my mechanics in my swing and I think I started overdoing it with my right side. … I think it was that. I couldn’t stay through the ball. That’s why I used my right side to help me get through the ball more. Unfortunately, my body’s not used to swinging like that and something went wrong.”

The good news is Voit said he is healthy and it’s just about getting at-bats before feeling ready to put on the pinstripes again. He doubled in three at-bats for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Sunday and singled Tuesday for Somerset.

“Everything feels great,” he said. “Oblique is fine. Rest of body is feeling good. I just want to get some at-bats, get my timing. I’ll be ready to go when they call me back up.”