Yankees first baseman Luke Voit has been activated from the injured list, the team announced Tuesday. Additionally, right-hander Darren O’Day and lefty Justin Wilson both embarked on rehab assignments with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. First baseman Chris Gittens was optioned after the Yankees’ game on Sunday, so the team had a vacancy on the active roster.
Voit, 30, has appeared in just 12 games so far in 2021. A torn meniscus required surgery and pushed his season debut back to May 11, and he went down with an oblique strain just two weeks later. That injury ultimately kept him on the shelf for just shy of a month.
Last summer’s Major League leader with 22 home runs, Voit showed some definite signs of rust in his first stint with the Yankees this year. He came out of the gates with an 0-for-10 skid and posted an overall line of .182/.280/.250 in 50 plate appearances before going down with his second injury. He’s looked much better on a rehab stint split between Double-A and Triple-A this time around, going 8-for-19 with a pair of homers and a pair of doubles in 20 plate appearances.
First base has been a black hole in the lineup at Yankee Stadium this season. Yankees who’ve been penciled into the first base position this year have combined for a miserable .176/.263/.285 slash in 267 plate appearances. DJ LeMahieu has seen the bulk of the playing time at first base, but while he’s hitting .259/.333/.352 on the season as a whole, he’s at just .234/.303/.324 as a first baseman. Voit, Jay Bruce, Mike Ford, Chris Gittens and Miguel Andujar have all seen time at the position as well, without much to show for it.
A healthy Voit would be a major boost for the Yankees, who are currently tied with the Marlins for the fifth-fewest runs in baseball (281). Voit not only led the Majors with 22 long balls last season, he batted a combined .279/.372/.549 with 57 homers in 892 plate appearances from the time of his 2018 acquisition from the Cardinals through the completion of the 2020 campaign. Meanwhile, the Yankees have posted a middling .232/.315/.389 batting line as a team in 2644 plate appearances this year.