Yankees News: Luke Voit Heads to IL with Knee Injury, Jay Bruce Makes Roster

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 27, 2021

New York Yankees' Luke Voit during the third inning of a spring training baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

New York Yankees first baseman Luke Voit will begin the 2021 season on the injured list, paving the way for veteran Jay Bruce to make the roster.

ESPN's Marly Rivera first reported that Bruce would be part of the Major League squad and later reported that manager Aaron Boone said Voit must go three weeks without any baseball activity because of a partial meniscus tear in his knee.

Per MLB.com's Bryan Hoch, Boone added that Voit will be back "considerably sooner than" June, meaning his absence isn't expected to stretch beyond two months.

The 30-year-old Voit is coming off a career year, as he was one of the few Yankees position players who did not spend time on the IL last season.

Voit was the driving force behind the Yanks' offensive success along with DJ LeMahieu, hitting .277 with an MLB-high 22 home runs and 52 RBI, which ranked fourth in MLB. Voit sat out only four games during the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season.

With that performance, Voit proved that the 2019 campaign in which he hit .263 with 21 homers and 62 RBI in 118 games wasn't a fluke.

Before 2019, Voit's MLB experience was limited. He played 62 games for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2017 and then another eight games for the Cards the following season before getting traded to New York.

In 39 games for the Bronx Bombers in 2018, Voit hit .333 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI, and then he nailed down the starting first base job in 2019.

His loss creates a huge opportunity for the soon-to-be-34-year-old Bruce.

He is set to enter his 14th MLB season and will play for his sixth team after previously enjoying stints with the Cincinnati Reds, New York Mets, Cleveland, Seattle Mariners and Philadelphia Phillies.

He is a three-time All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger award winner who owns a .245 career batting average to go along with 318 home runs and 948 RBI.

Bruce has clubbed 30 or more home runs in a season five times and driven in 100 or more runs in a campaign on two occasions.

He hit just .198 with six home runs and 14 RBI with the Phillies last season and hasn't put up great numbers since 2017 when he hit .254 with 36 homers and 101 RBI for the Mets and Cleveland.

The Yanks made Bruce a low-risk signing during the offseason, and that decision already appears to be paying dividends, as he will be able to fill in at first base, especially against right-handed pitching.

For as good and powerful as the Yankees lineup is, most of their hitters are righties, so adding a power lefty like Bruce could provide a bit more balance.

That, coupled with the fact that the likes of Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres and Gary Sanchez are all healthy entering the 2021 season, means New York should get by without Voit for a little while.

The Yankees could run into trouble if injuries pile up like they have in recent years, but for now, they are in a good position to start the season off hot and cement themselves as the favorites in the American League.