Yankees' Luke Voit not ready to cede playing time when Anthony Rizzo returns: 'I deserve to play ...

ByDavid Schoenfield ESPN logo
Wednesday, August 18, 2021

With Anthony Rizzo due to come off the COVID-19 injured list sometime soon, New York Yankees first baseman Luke Voit said he still expects to play when the three-time All-Star returns.

"I was top-10 MVP last year and I've been a great player for this organization for the last three years," Voit said after Tuesday's doubleheader sweep of the Boston Red Sox.

"I'm not going down. I want to play. Obviously, I know it will be tough with Rizzo, but I deserve to play just as much as he does. I led the league in home runs last year. I feel really good again."

Voit was on the injured list with knee inflammation -- his third IL stint of the season -- when the Yankees acquired Rizzo from theCubsat the trade deadline. Rizzo has been out since Aug. 7, while Voit returned to the lineup on Aug. 8.

Despite struggling for most of this season after hitting 22 home runs in 56 games last year, Voit has hit .243/.317/.486 with 3 homers and 9 RBIs in 10 games since his return, including a home run in the second game of the doubleheader.

Rizzo took batting practice between doubleheader games, his first since landing on the COVID list. He told reporters that the virus knocked him out for six or seven days.

"It sucked," he said. "Achy and tired. ... I'd just get up and try to move around and get tired and everything hurts."

Rizzo said he wants to see how he responds to Tuesday's workout, while manager Aaron Boone said Rizzo could return in the next few days.

One defensive option for Boone is to play Giancarlo Stanton in left field, with Joey Gallo in center, Rizzo at first base and Voit serving as the DH. Stanton has started eight games in the outfield since July 30, after not starting at all in the outfield before then.

When asked how he would manage playing time for Voit and Rizzo, Boone told reporters: "We're day by day."

The Yankees have won five straight and 12 of 15 to narrowly overtake Boston for second in the AL East. New York enters Wednesday with a 68-52 record, and Boston is 69-53 -- a difference of .001 percentage points. The Yankees were 10 1/2 games behind the first-place Red Sox on July 5 but have gone 26-11 since.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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