TAMPA — Yankees first baseman Luke Voit led all of Major League Baseball in home runs last year. In 2021, he'll start the season on the sidelines.
An MRI on Friday night revealed Voit has a partial meniscus tear in his left knee, Yankees manager Aaron Boone said on Saturday morning.
After mulling over whether or not Voit wanted to play through the swelling in his knee, the call was made for the slugger to return to New York and undergo surgery.
"He'll have that done in the next few days which will be three weeks of no baseball activity and then ramp up from there," Boone said. "It was a decision between getting it treated and playing through it because functionally, he was playing but was still dealing with some swelling in there after games."
With three weeks off from baseball activity, assuming Voit doesn't experience any setbacks along the way, the first baseman can start working back from the surgery midway through the month of April.
If all goes well from there, it's possible Voit could only miss the first month of the regular season.
Last year that would have meant more, working with 60 games overall, but in a traditional 162-game campaign, all parties involved agreed that getting this taken care of now would be the best option.
"We felt like calendar-wise, it was best to get this over and taken care of and hopefully put it behind him for the bulk of the season," Boone said.
Asked specifically if he expects Voit to return in the month of June, Boone clarified that he anticipates the first baseman will rejoin the big-league club "considerably sooner" than that.
"Let's have the surgery, see how the early days are and then we'll be able to evaluate," the skipper explained. "But the timeline would be before that."
With Voit starting the season with an injury, veteran Jay Bruce was signed to a Major League contract and added to the 40-man roster. He'll start the season—after serving as a non-roster invitee at camp this spring—as New York's starting first baseman.
Considering the numbers Voit posted in 2020, crushing a career-high 22 home runs in 56 games, the slugger didn't seem like himself this spring. Voit hit .219 (7-for-32) over 13 games without a single home run.
Cleaning up this issue before it develops into anything more serious will give Voit his best chance to return with a clean bill of health and not have to miss any additional time. He's proven his ability to play through injury—with last year's "foot stuff" lingering all summer long—but any sort of tears in the meniscus are another animal.
"He's been pretty adamant that playing has been fine, just some of the swelling has returned so that was a little frustrating for him," Boone explained. "He and us wanted to get that looked at just to see what we're dealing with in there, found the partial tear and it was decision time over the last 24 hours about how he wanted to treat it. Ultimately he decided on the surgery so he'll have that up in New York I believe next week."
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