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New York Yankees 1B Luke Voit going on IL with partial tear in meniscus

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TAMPA, Fla. — Major league home run champion Luke Voit needs knee surgery to repair a partial meniscus tear, an injury that opened a New York Yankees roster spot for Jay Bruce on Saturday as a converted first baseman.

Voit will not have any baseball activities for three weeks after the operation, manager Aaron Boone said. Voit is expected back in May.

“Let’s have the surgery, see how the early days are and then we will be able to evaluate,” Boone said.

The injury to Voit, who hit 22 homers in the pandemic-shortened season, played a role in the decision to add Bruce, who attended spring training with a minor league contract. Bruce has played 1,510 major league games in the outfield and 54 at first base, including two last season.

“It was part of the equation,” Boone said. “So, Jay is with us. I expect him to play a lot and a lot of first base for us. Excited to see what he can do for us.”

Bruce gets a contract paying $1.35 million while in the major leagues and $150,000 should he be assigned to the minors.

“I was waiting on the Yankees to let me know,” said Bruce, who was informed about the decision early Saturday morning. “Clearly this is where I wanted to be. This is why I signed here. I’m extremely excited.”

Bruce entered Saturday with a .194 average, two homers and three RBIs in 31 at-bats during spring training.

Boone said outfielder Mike Tauchman, who is out of minor league options, is set to be an extra outfielder.

Bruce is a rare left-handed bat on the heavily right-handed Yankees. In their projected batting order, switch-hitting center fielder Aaron Hicks is joined by eight right-handed hitters. Left-handed-hitting outfielder Brett Gardner, projected as a reserve behind Clint Frazier, also figures to get significant playing time.

Bruce hit .198 with six homers and 14 RBIs for Philadelphia in 96 at-bats during the pandemic-shortened season. He is a three-time All-Star with a .245 average, 318 home runs and 948 RBIs during 13 big league seasons with Cincinnati (2008-15), the New York Mets (2016-18), Cleveland (2018), Seattle (2019) and the Phillies.

New York released infielder Derek Dietrich and injured catcher Robinson Chirinos from minor league contracts. Releasing them does not preclude the Yankees from re-signing them.

Right-hander Clarke Schmidt was placed on the 60-day injured list with a right elbow strain, opening a spot for Bruce on the 40-man roster.

Game notes LHP Justin Wilson, who injured his left shoulder in Monday’s game against Philadelphia, resumed throwing on Saturday. Wilson threw at 90 feet on level ground and said it hasn’t been determined if he will start the season on the injured list. … RHP Clarke Schmidt (right elbow strain) was placed on the 60-day IL.

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New York Yankees SS Gleyber Torres to miss second straight game, sources say

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — New York Yankees shortstop Gleyber Torres, who was held out of Wednesday night’s game out of “an abundance of caution,” will not play in Thursday’s series finale against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field, sources told ESPN.

The Yankees have confirmed seven cases of COVID-19 among their coaching and support staff, and manager Aaron Boone said the team was waiting for the MLB and MLB Players Association joint committee to review the results of Torres’ testing.

“Essentially, the joint committee is waiting, because we’ve had so many tests done, waiting on some test results to still come back,” Boone said before the Yankees’ 1-0 victory over the Rays on Wednesday. “With all that’s going on with our team, out of an abundance of caution, we’re holding him out tonight.”

Boone added: “I know everyone’s going to read into that, but hopefully it’s nothing. It’s more just getting all the information.”

The Yankees have said that pitching coach Matt Blake, third-base coach Phil Nevin and first-base coach Reggie Willits have tested positive for COVID-19.

Six of the seven people who have tested positive are asymptomatic, Boone said, adding that a number of test results were pending. All seven people who tested positive were vaccinated for COVID-19.

“I think one of the things we’re seeing is that being vaccinated en masse like we are, we’re seeing the vaccinations also kind of blunt the effects of the virus,” Boone said. “I feel like in a lot of ways, because we’re vaccinated, we’re kind of good and able to deal with this. So there’s a little bit of a frustrating part there, in all the testing that we’re going to do.”

All members of the Yankees’ traveling party have been tested at least three times each since Tuesday.

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Atlanta Braves star Ronald Acuna Jr. leaves game with ankle injury

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Atlanta Braves star outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. left Thursday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays because of an apparent injury to his left ankle.

Acuna, who leads the majors in home runs, suffered the injury in the seventh inning while running to first base on a grounder. He landed awkwardly on his left foot after passing the first-base bag and immediately fell to the ground in pain.

After being examined by the Braves’ medical staff, Acuna eventually limped off the field under his own power. The Braves have not officially announced a diagnosis for Acuna’s injury.

Acuna, 23, led off the bottom of the first inning with his major league-leading 12th homer of the season. The former All-Star and NL Rookie of the Year also leads the Braves in batting average (.302), RBIs (24) and stolen bases (6).

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Philadelphia Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto placed on COVID-related IL

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Philadelphia Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto has been placed on the COVID-related injury list ahead of Thursday’s game against Washington, the team announced.

The Phillies recalled catcher Rafael Marchan from Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Realmuto, who signed a five-year deal with Philadelphia this offseason that has the highest average annual value ($23.1 million) for a catcher in MLB history, is hitting .314 with four home runs and 16 RBIs this season.

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