Luke Voit earns AL honors after plea for more playing time

Luke Voit backed up his impassioned plea about earning more playing time with the Yankees by slugging his way to a weekly honor.

After declaring last week he “deserves to play just as much as [Anthony Rizzo] does,” Voit was named American League Player of the Week ahead of Monday’s game against the Braves in Atlanta.

Voit was not in the lineup despite earning the award by hitting .476 (10-for-21) with two home runs, 11 RBIs and a 1.427 OPS in six games — all victories for the Yankees, who entered this series with a nine-game winning streak.

“I mean, he’s playing great,” Yanks manager Aaron Boone said before the game. “I think the biggest thing is he’s healthy, and we know what kind of hitter he is when he’s healthy. He’s obviously gotten some big hits for us.

Luke Voit earns AL honors after plea for more playing time
Luke Voit won AL honors for this week.
Bill Kostroun/New York Post

“In what was a very good week for us, he was right in the middle of a lot of that. So it’s just good to see. I feel like he’s taking better and better at-bats all the time. And just being healthy and we know, again, what he can do when he’s healthy.”

After leading the majors in home runs in 2020 — with 22 in the pandemic-shortened 60-game slate — Voit has appeared in just 42 games this season due to three IL stints due to knee or oblique ailments.

During his most recent sidelining, the Yanks acquired Rizzo from the Cubs ahead of the trade deadline, primarily to play first base. He got off to a strong start with three homers in his first nine games before landing on the COVID-19 injured list on Aug. 8.

When Rizzo was set to be activated last week, however, Voit declared “I’m not going down. I want to play and I deserve to play just as much as [Rizzo] does.” That confidence obviously has translated well since both players have been on the roster at the same time over the past week.

“I think Luke’s confident, even usually when he’s not going great,” Boone said. “He’s still usually very confident. He knows what he’s capable of at the plate.

“When he’s at his best, he controls his zone well and hits the ball hard. That’s a good combination if you’re a hitter. But there’s no question that he’s risen to the occasion, I think, as these games have become very important for us.”