“He’s kind of like the NFL starting quarterback where he goes down early in the year, but by the time he gets back the position is now gone,” Cashman said Sunday during an interview with Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette on Sirius/XM’s MLB Network Radio.
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Cashman opted to upgrade at first base on Thursday when Rizzo, a three-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner, became available for two prospects that weren’t among the Yankees’ eight best and the Cubs agreed to eat all of the money.
“Luke Voit has been out all year with injuries,” Cashman added. “He’s unfortunately caught up in our obvious attempt to upgrade this roster and it’s unfair to him, but I was staring a decision of do I wait until he knocks the rust off or take the opportunity that’s in front of me acquiring Rizzo that really fits us?”
Voit has played just 29 of the Yankees’ 104 games this season because he’s been on the injured list three times. He missed the first 34 games recovering from March knee surgery, was sidelined for another 23 from May 27 to June 22 with a right oblique strain and now has missed the Yankees’ last 15 games with left knee inflammation.
When playing this season, Voit hasn’t been at his best hitting .241 with three homers in 29 games. A year ago, he batted .277 and led the majors with 22 homers playing 56 of the Yankees’ 60 games during the shortened campaign.
Voit is healthy now, but deemed rusty baseball-wise by the Yankees. That’s why he’s been in Tampa the last few days getting simulated game at-bats at the Yankees’ player development complex. On Tuesday, he’ll join Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to begin a rehab assignment that figures to last a few days.
After that, Voit probably will be activated from the IL and begin his new role backing up Rizzo, who homered in his first two Yankees games on Friday and Saturday, then knocked in the tying run with an eighth-inning single in Sunday’s 3-1 win that completed a weekend sweep of the Miami Marlins.
“Obviously the injuries have taken its toll this year and thankfully he’s healthy,” Cashman said. “We all know what Luke Voit is capable of as a hitter. He’s a masher. He’s on base with power. Obviously he was the home run champion in the American League last year and has impacted us in such a positive way for so many times.
“This guy obviously can help us. The lane that used to be so obvious currently isn’t there, so obviously we are a lot deeper with everything we have. We have more choices, more protection because of it, but unfortunately right now he’s going to get some at-bats and do what he does best (in rehab games), which is crush it, and then we’ll see how he’s going to fit as we move forward.”
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