Luke Voit’s path back to Yankees goes through Scranton/Wilkes-Barre

Luke Voit was in the lineup for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre for their season opener Tuesday and could be back with the Yankees next week after being sidelined by surgery to repair a partially torn meniscus in his left knee during spring training.

Voit was the DH in SWB’s game in Syracuse and is scheduled to play five or six innings at first base on Wednesday and the Yankees envision him returning “at some point” on the road trip that starts next Tuesday at Tampa Bay.

“I would say over the next seven or eight days he’ll play five or six games to get him built up and hopefully be in position to join us at some point on the road trip.”

The Yankees have felt Voit’s absence, unable to find a good answer in the infield without him.

They first turned to Jay Bruce, who struggled more at the plate than at first and ended up retiring. Since Bruce left, DJ LeMahieu and Mike Ford have typically filled in, with Rougned Odor at second base when LeMahieu is at first.

But after Voit led the majors with 22 homers in last year’s shortened season, the Yankees’ first basemen have mostly been unproductive at the plate in 2021.

Yankees Luke Voit stands with a crutch as the Yankees line up before the start of the first inning on opening day.
Luke Voit’s Triple-A rehab stint began Tuesday.
Charles Wenzelberg/NY Post

After Monday’s off day, the Yankees went with Kyle Higashioka behind the plate to open their series against Houston, with Domingo German on the mound.

“It’s something I don’t take lightly,’’ Boone said of the decision of who to start at catcher.

Boone added Gary Sanchez, mired in another brutal slump, would be in the lineup Wednesday, followed by Higashioka on Thursday to catch Gerrit Cole.
“I’m going day-by-day with both guys.”

The Yankees will stay in their rotation for their upcoming series against the Nationals, with Jameson Taillon going Friday, followed by Corey Kluber and German.

Jordan Montgomery said “there’s a lot of room for improvement” to his season.

In particular, there’s the fact he’s allowed four first-inning earned runs in his five starts for a 7.20 ERA.

“I’ve been having issues with that forever,’’ Montgomery said of his first-inning problems. 

While he added, “It’s not until you get punched in the face that you actually pitch,’’ the left-hander added he was trying to make adjustments to improve his early-inning effectiveness.

That includes going to Cole and Kluber for their pregame routines, which both veteran right-handers have written out for Montgomery.

New York Yankees starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery #47 during the first inning
Jordan Montgomery has struggled in the first innings of his starts this season.
Robert Sabo

He also talked to Cole and Kluber after being upset by being taken out one batter into the sixth inning of his last outing, when he allowed a homer to Trey Mancini in Baltimore.

“They calmed me down,’’ Montgomery said. “As a competitor, I’d rather die out there.”

The 28-year-old had high hopes going into the regular season that he knows he’s yet to meet.

“I’m kind of sick of not being as good as I should be out there,” Montgomery said. “With the spring I had, I was feeling really good. I just know I can be better. I’m trying to do that.”

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