Just when you thought that the Yankees were going to escape spring training without an injury to their lineup for the first time in forever, the baseball gods remembered to begin their annual tradition of forcing the Yankees to play without the full lineup. Earlier this afternoon, Marly Rivera reported that starting first baseman Luke Voit has suffered a partial meniscus tear and will start the season on the injured list. Aaron Boone confirmed the news in his press conference a few minutes later.
Voit has been battling knee soreness the last couple of weeks, and an MRI yesterday confirmed the partial tear. He will be undergoing surgery in the coming days, and will not engage in any baseball activities for the next three weeks. Although knee injuries are tricky, with varying recovery times, the team is optimistic that Voit will be able to return to the lineup “considerably sooner than” June.
In the same interview, Boone said that Jay Bruce, who had exercised his opt-out on Thursday, will make the Opening Day roster and serve as the team’s starting first baseman to begin the season, a story that Jack Curry had first, before Voit’s injury was revealed. Outfielder Mike Tauchman has also been informed that he will be making the team.
At the moment, that’s all we know. This has been a rough week for baseball fans, as the last few days of spring training have seen a veritable avalanche of significant injuries over the last few days; it was only a matter of time before the Yankees ended up joining with somebody who was not a relief pitcher.
Keeping checking back here on Pinstripe Alley, as we will have more on this story as it develops.
Update: (12:52 PM EDT) And it’s official, along with other moves.
Prior to today’s game, the @Yankees:— Yankees PR Dept. (@YankeesPR) March 27, 2021
•Released C Robinson Chirinos & INF Derek Dietrich from their minor league contracts
•Signed 1B/OF Jay Bruce to a Major League contract & selected him to the 40-man roster
•Placed RHP Clarke Schmidt on the 60-day IL w/ a right elbow strain
With the release of Robinson Chirinos and Derek Dietrich, the Yankees’ roster crunch just got a lot clearer. Chirinos had signed to contend for the backup catcher job but hasn’t played since undergoing wrist surgery after getting plunked by a stray pitch.* Dietrich, meanwhile, never got going with the bat, and the team elected to carry Bruce, Tauchman, and the more defensively versatile Tyler Wade over him.
Pitching prospect Clarke Schmidt, meanwhile, was moved to the 60-day injured list in order to free up a spot for Bruce. He’s been on the shelf since being shut down in late February with a common extensor strain in his elbow. Even if Schmidt was raring to go in April, he’d likely need some time to ramp back up anyway, so no harm in putting him on the 60-day to let him take his time in returning.
*Update: Chirinos was later re-signed to a minor league contract. He’ll rehab his injury with the Yankees and when healthy, could perhaps be called upon to catch if anything happens to Gary Sánchez or Kyle Higashioka.