TAMPA, Fla. – Major League home run champion Luke Voit needs knee surgery to repair a partial meniscus tear, an injury that opened a spot on the New York Yankees roster for Jay Bruce on Saturday as a converted first baseman. .
Voit will not have any baseball activity for three weeks after surgery on his left knee, manager Aaron Boone said. Voit is expected to return in May.
“Let’s do the surgery, let’s see what the first days are like and then we can evaluate,” Boone said.
The injury to Voit, who hit 22 home runs in the pandemic-shortened season, played a role in the decision to bring in Bruce, who attended spring training on a minor league contract.
“We’re going to miss Luke, but I know Jay Bruce will come and do some special things for us,” Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge said. “Luke is a big part of this team, a big part of this offense. He’s a very vocal guy in the clubhouse who motivates us. I’m excited to have Jay Bruce on his team. That’s why he came to this team, it was to help with everything. what he could and help us win a championship. “
Voit underwent an MRI exam on Friday, leading to discussions that night about whether the slugger would go through a treatment program and try to play games or have surgery.
“I decided to go in and have it cleaned,” Boone said. “Functionally I was playing, but I was still dealing with some bloat after games and things like that. I felt like, timing-wise, it was better to fix this and hopefully leave it behind for most of the season.”
Bruce has played 1,510 major league games in the outfield and 54 at first base, including two last season.
“It was part of the equation,” Boone said. “So Jay is with us. I hope he plays a lot and a lot at first base for us. I’m excited to see what he can do for us.”
Bruce lands a contract paying $ 1.35 million while in the major leagues and $ 150,000 if he is assigned to the minors.
“I was waiting for the Yankees to let me know,” said Bruce, who was briefed on the decision early Saturday morning. “Clearly this is where I wanted to be. That’s why I signed here. I’m extremely excited.”
Bruce entered Saturday with a .194 average, two home runs and three RBIs in 31 at-bats during spring training.
Boone said outfielder Mike Tauchman, who has no minor league options, is ready to be an extra outfielder.
Bruce is a rare left-handed bat in the heavily right-handed Yankees. In his projected batting order, eight right-handed hitters join ambidextrous center fielder Aaron Hicks. Left-handed outfielder Brett Gardner, projected as a backup behind Clint Frazier, also hopes to have significant playing time.
Bruce hit .198 with six home runs and 14 RBIs for Philadelphia in 96 at-bats during the pandemic-shortened season. He is a three-time All-Star with a .245 average, 318 home runs and 948 RBIs during 13 major league seasons with Cincinnati (2008-15), the New York Mets (2016-18), Cleveland (2018), Seattle . (2019) and the Phillies.
New York released infielder Derek Dietrich and injured receiver Robinson Chirinos from minor league contracts. Releasing them doesn’t stop the Yankees from re-signing them.
Right-hander Clarke Schmidt was placed on the 60-day disabled list with a strained right elbow, opening up a spot for Bruce on the 40-man list.
Game Notes The players union is discussing the possibility of asking MLB to move the All-Star Game in Atlanta following the approval of new restrictions on voting in Georgia. “That’s a big topic, an important topic,” Judge said. “It’s definitely something to dive into.” … LZ Justin Wilson, who injured his left shoulder in Monday’s game against Philadelphia, resumed shooting Saturday. Wilson threw 90 feet on flat ground and said it has not been determined whether he will start the season on the disabled list.