TORONTO — Luke Voit got his first at-bat in a week when he pinch hit for Brett Gardner in the seventh inning of Wednesday’s 6-5 loss to the Blue Jays — and it didn’t look good.
Voit struck out swinging and ran to first when the ball got away from Reese McGuire behind the plate — even though the play didn’t allow Voit to go to first. But it was clear Voit wasn’t healthy, as he limped to first and back into the dugout.
Manager Aaron Boone said Voit is getting treatment for a bone bruise on the knee.
“He should be OK,” Boone said.
The scarcity of at-bats has taken a toll on Voit, who entered Wednesday in a 2-for-21 rut. Both hits, though, were homers. He also walked four times and had seven strikeouts.
“I know he’s frustrated, especially this past week, with the lack of playing time,’’ Boone said. “I would say it hasn’t impacted his work or desire and willingness to stay ready. Anything can happen at any moment and maybe [it’s] the biggest at-bat of the season.”
Boone also pointed to a stretch after Anthony Rizzo returned from the COVID-IL and Voit still started on occasion and frequently pinch hit.
The manager said he could see opportunities arise like that again, even with the Yankees done with playing in National League parks — unless they get to the World Series.
“There are definitely spots for him that make sense and we won’t hesitate to use him,’’ Boone said. “They just haven’t come up the last week. But there are matchups we like.”
Andrew Heaney was optioned to make room for Jonathan Loaisiga’s return from the IL. The left-hander needed to approve of the move, since he was out of minor league options and would have otherwise been exposed to waivers. He’ll go to Tampa, where Heaney will work on possibly being a 2022 possibility for the Yankees — although Boone did not discount the idea he could pitch again in the majors this season.
The 30-year-old, acquired at the trade deadline from the Angels, did not work as first a starter and then as a reliever. He allowed 13 home runs in 35 ²/₃ innings.
Boone acknowledged that he had a long-ball problem, but, “I don’t think he was that far off from being the solid pitcher he was for Anaheim,” the Yankees manager said.
“I think he’s enjoyed being here, and one thing he’s earned is the respect of the organization and the room,” Boone said of Heaney, a former first-round pick who had nice seasons with the Angels. “He came over here and obviously has had his struggles, but we’ve put him in different roles. He’s always taken the ball, he’s always been accountable.”
The Yankees had their 19-game streak with a homer snapped Wednesday. It was the third-longest in franchise history, behind a 31-game streak in 2019 and a 25-game stretch in 1941.
Domingo German was activated from the IL a week ago and still hasn’t made an appearance out of the bullpen. Like they did with Luis Severino after he was activated off the IL, Boone said they are looking for the right spot for German.
The strategy has worked well with Severino, who has thrown five scoreless innings in three appearances in his first action since February 2020 Tommy John surgery.
Boone noted that even though Severino entered with a four-run lead in Tuesday’s win over Toronto — courtesy of Giancarlo Stanton’s three-run homer — the right-hander would have pitched the eighth inning even if the Yankees were still only up by one run.
“We also used him for two big innings in Boston,’’ Boone said. “We’re excited about where he’s at.”
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