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Yanks’ Voit: ‘I thought broken jaw’ when hit by Bettis pitch

By RONALD BLUMJuly 21, 2019
New York Yankees' Luke Voit reacts after being hit with a pitch during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies Saturday, July 20, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
New York Yankees' Luke Voit reacts after being hit with a pitch during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies Saturday, July 20, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

NEW YORK (AP) — When first hit by a pitch from Colorado’s Chad Bettis, Yankees slugger Luke Voit was scared. He remembered when Giancarlo Stanton’s jaw was broken by Milwaukee’s Mike Fiers five years ago.

“I thought broken jaw. My teeth were going to be all scattered everywhere,” Voit said Sunday. “I grabbed my face. So I was like, ‘Oh, oh.’ ... But then, it wasn’t as bad as I thought. Just a scary thing.”

Voit was back in the New York Yankees’ lineup at first base for Sunday’s 8-4 loss to Colorado, while left fielder Brett Gardner was scratched after hurting his left knee and may miss a few days.

Voit said his jaw was “super sore” when he awoke, but after icing there was only a little swelling. He said it felt as if he had been punched, and there was a slight cut on his chin. Concussion tests were negative.

Part of the force of the 91 mph pitch was absorbed when the ball grazed Voit’s shoulder. He also was able to turn his face slightly.

“I dodged a bullet, got lucky,” said Voit, who planned to try a protective chin strap on his helmet before the game.

He went 0 for 4 with a pair of strikeouts and allowed Tony Wolters’ sacrifice to bounce off his glove, leading to three unearned runs in a four-run third. Voit batted with a faceguard attached to his helmet.

“It’s good. I just have to get used to it,” he said. “I tried two different ones out before the game, and one’s a little higher than the other one.”

Voit is hitting .194 (6 for 31) since returning from nearly two weeks on the injured list caused by an abdominal strain, dropping his season average to .272 with 18 homers and 52 RBIs.

“Right now I feel like I’m underneath it and around stuff. Just got to get my timing back,” he said. “I’m swinging at pitches I usually don’t. I’m making weak contact, and I’m giving them easy outs.”

Voit maintained the faceguard was not a distraction.

“After maybe three or four days, I’ll see how it feels,” he said. “I do get pitched up and in a lot, and it could happen again, Hopefully, it won’t, but you never know, so maybe if I get comfortable with it, I won’t even notice.”

Gardner was scratched from the lineup and did not play after an MRI showed inflammation in his left knee. Gardner said he was hurt making a sliding catch on Ryan McMahon in the ninth inning Saturday and might miss Monday, too.

“Didn’t like the way it felt when I woke up,” he said. “Hopefully nothing too serious.”

Stanton, limited to nine games this season, is not close to returning from his latest injury. He strained his left biceps on March 31 in his third game, strained a shoulder and calf during his rehabilitation and returned June 18. In his sixth game back, he strained the posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during an awkward headfirst slide into third base against Toronto on June 25.

“Better, but still slow. Not baseball activities yet,” manager Aaron Boone said. “He feels like he is making some progress, where I think the first couple of weeks was a little frustrating in that it was slow moving.”

Stanton is hitting .290 with one home run and seven RBIs, pretty much a non-factor in the Yankees’ season.

Outfielder Cameron Maybin, sidelined since straining his left calf on June 21, is to start a minor league injury rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre on Tuesday.

Ace Luis Severino and setup man Dellin Betances, both sidelined since spring training by lat injuries, started throwing on flat ground last Monday but are not yet ready to begin bullpen sessions, making returns before late August unlikely.

“I would say sometime in early part of next month they should be on the mound if everything continues to go well,” Boone said.

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