Yanks’ Voit, Wade, Twins’ Arráez, Adrianza on ALDS rosters
NEW YORK (AP) — Slumping first baseman Luke Voit was picked over rookie Mike Ford for the New York Yankees‘ AL Division Series roster against Minnesota because he provides a potential right-handed bat off the bench in the late innings.
Minnesota chose three players who had been hurt of late: center fielder Max Kepler and infielders Luis Arráez and Ehire Adrianza.
New York also selected speedy and versatile Tyler Wade for the series, which started Friday night. Wade can play second base, third, shortstop, outfield, and pinch run or be a defensive replacement.
Voit struggled in his return from a sports hernia, ending the season hitless in his last 12 at-bats and in a 1-for-33 slide, leaving him with a .263 batting average, 21 homers and 71 RBIs. Ford hit .259 with 12 homers and 25 RBIs, including .379 with eight homers and 17 RBIs from Aug. 17 on.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone viewed Voit as a better potential pinch-hitting option against Twins closer Taylor Rogers, who is left-handed, than the left-handed-hitting Ford.
“Looking at it from an off-the-bench situation, there’s not a lot of our righties that I would hit for,” Boone said. “Rogers is their one guy … pretty tough guy against lefties, so I feel like Voit’s a potential bullet there against him. And feel like there’s still something in there for Luke.”
As expected, the Yankees included designated hitter Edwin Encarnación, who hasn’t played since Sept. 12 because of a strained left oblique. Encarnación hit .249 with 13 homers and 37 RBIs in 44 games for New York, which acquired him from Seattle on June 15. He started at designated hitter and hit cleanup, together for the first time since June 25 with left fielder Giancarlo Stanton and right fielder Aaron Judge.
“It’s definitely good to go in with pretty much a loaded barrel,” Boone said.
Cameron Maybin, the fourth outfielder, batted .285 with 11 homers and 32 RBIs in 239 at-bats.
Kepler started only two of the last 19 games because of a strained left shoulder muscle. Arráez sprained his right ankle last weekend, and Adrianza strained his right oblique muscle Sept. 12.
“They are all 100% and ready to go,” manager Rocco Baldelli said.
Minnesota’s 12-man staff omitted left-hander Martín Pérez along with catcher-infielder Willians Astudillo. Perez was 10-7 with a 5.12 ERA in 29 starts and three relief appearances.
“Having to have that conversation with him wasn’t fun in any way,” Baldelli said. “He’s been dominant against left-handed hitters and … the Yankees here are about as heavy of a right-handed-hitting group as you’re going to find.”
“We’ve really tried to get Lyons into some situations this final month against some really good left-handed hitters to see how it would play. I feel like, by and large, he did really well,” Boone said.
Lyons got the spot first slated for CC Sabathia, who is sidelined by a sore shoulder but hopes to return if the Yankees advance. The 39-year-old plans to retire after the postseason.
Yankees pitching plans changed when reliever Dellin Betances tore his left Achilles tendon on Sept. 15 in his first appearance back from a lat injury that had sidelined him since spring training, and 18-game winner Domingo Germán was placed on administrative leave under baseball’s domestic violence policy four days later. Their absences created openings for Cessa and Loaisiga.
Boone also said injured center fielder Aaron Hicks likely will not need elbow surgery but a final determination has not been made. Hicks, who injured his right flexor on Aug. 3, has been on a throwing program in Tampa, Florida.