Anthony Rizzo was off the COVID-19 injured list and back in the lineup Wednesday — and that meant Luke Voit is out, for now.
Rizzo started at first base against the Red Sox in his first game back, a day after Voit raised eyebrows by saying he had as much right to a starting spot as Rizzo.
Aaron Boone said he spoke with Voit after his comments following the nightcap of the Yankees’ doubleheader sweep over Boston on Tuesday.
“Luke and I have talked,’’ Boone said. “The bottom line is, hopefully we continue to get guys back and remain healthy. Luke is gonna play a big role on this team moving forward.”
Perhaps, but he won’t be the starting first baseman, which he clearly believes he should be after saying, “I’ve been a great player for this organization for the last three years. I’m not going down. I want to play and I deserve to play just as much as [Rizzo] does. … I hope [Boone] can find me some consistent at-bats.”
Boone insisted that would be the case prior to Wednesday’s game, pointing to using Giancarlo Stanton in the outfield, with Aaron Judge in center and Joey Gallo in the other corner-outfield spot, at times, to open up the DH spot in the order for Voit to play.
Boone said the conversation he had with Voit was “good. We’re ready to roll. … Luke is totally on board with that and knows he’s gonna be a big part of this.”
But there’s a reason the Yankees tried to trade Voit at the trade deadline after trading for Rizzo from the Cubs last month.
Rizzo’s fast start with the Yankees further clouded Voit’s future with the Yankees as he rehabbed from left knee inflammation that sidelined him and forced a third stint on the IL this season.
Before the Yankees were forced to make a decision on what to do with Voit, who still has a minor league option, Rizzo went down with COVID. And Voit took advantage of the opportunity, with his best stretch of the season.
Boone said Wednesday that Rizzo would be built up slowly, with days off built into his schedule, meaning Voit would continue to get some time.
At some point soon, though, those plate appearances might be tough to come by.
“I can envision him in the lineup a lot with moving guys around and giving guys a day [off],’’ Boone said. “This is about us. We’ve got 40-something games left. We understand how important these days are. … We’re trying to get as many wins as we can and we feel Luke is gonna play a big role in that.”
Understandably, Boone declined to look too far ahead, since the Yankees have been inundated with injuries and COVID IL stints that have forced them to use 57 players this season, so Voit could be called upon regularly at any point.
“Like I said, there’s lots of playing time for lots of people,’’ Boone said. “It’s about us trying to rack up wins. I think everyone is on board with that.”
Asked if he might have to manage egos as players return, Boone said, “I don’t see it as an issue. … We’ll let it play out. I’m excited about more and more impactful guys continuing to return to the team.”
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