Luke Voit activated by Yankees after recovering from knee surgery

Luke Voit
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Major league home run champion Luke Voit was activated from the 10-day injured list by the New York Yankees and was set to make his season debut against the AL champion Tampa Bay Rays.

The 30-year-old had surgery March 29 to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee and hit .389 (7 for 18) with two doubles and three homers during a five-game injury rehabilitation assignment from May 4-9 with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Voit missed the first 34 games of the Yankees, who went 18-16. He batted .277 last season with 22 homers and 52 RBIs in 213 at-bats over 56 games.

New York first basemen hit .153 (19 for 124) in his absence with three homers, 10 RBIs, 36 strikeouts and 17 walks.

In Voit’s absence, Jay Bruce played 10 games at first base and hit .118 (4 for 34) with one homer, three RBIs, 13 strikeouts five walks, then retired.

Mike Ford played 13 at first and batted .103 (4 for 39) with two homers, four RBIs, 14 strikeouts and six walks, and DJ LeMahieu played 15 there and hit .282 (11 for 50) with no homers, three RBIs, nine strikeouts and six walks). Miguel Andujar had one game at first, going 0 for 4.

With Voit’s return, LeMahieu figures to get most of his time at second base.

New York opened a roster spot for Voit on Sunday when they optioned Andujar to Scranton.

Biden praises Braves’ ‘unstoppable, joyful run’ to 2021 win

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said the Atlanta Braves will be “forever known as the upset kings of October” for their improbable 2021 World Series win, as he welcomed the team to the White House for a victory celebration.

Biden called the Braves’ drive an “unstoppable, joyful run.” The team got its White House visit in with just over a week left before the 2022 regular season wraps up and the Major League Baseball playoffs begin again. The Braves trail the New York Mets by 1.5 games in the National League East but have clinched a wildcard spot for the MLB playoffs that begin Oct. 7. Chief Executive Officer Terry McGuirk said he hoped they’d be back to the White House again soon.

In August 2021, the Braves were a mess, playing barely at .500. But then they started winning. And they kept it up, taking the World Series in six games over the Houston Astros.

Biden called their performance of “history’s greatest turnarounds.”

“This team has literally been part of American history for over 150 years,” said Biden. “But none of it came easy … people counting you out. Heck, I know something about being counted out.”

Players lined up on risers behind Biden, grinning and waving to the crowd, but the player most discussed was one who hasn’t been on the team in nearly 50 years and who died last year: Hall of Famer Hank Aaron.

Hammerin’ Hank was the home run king for 33 years, dethroning Babe Ruth with a shot to left field on April 8, 1974. He was one of the most famous players for Atlanta and in baseball history, a clear-eyed chronicler of the hardships thrown his way – from the poverty and segregation of his Alabama youth to the racist threats he faced during his pursuit of one of America’s most hallowed records. He died in January at 86.

“This is team is defined by the courage of Hank Aaron,” Biden said.

McGuirk said Aaron, who held front office positions with the team and was one of Major League Baseball’s few Black executives, was watching over them.

“He’d have been there every step of the way with us if he was here,” McGuirk added.

The president often honors major league and some college sports champions with a White House ceremony, typically a nonpartisan affair in which the commander in chief pays tribute to the champs’ prowess, poses for photos and comes away with a team jersey.

Those visits were highly charged in the previous administration. Many athletes took issue with President Donald Trump’s policies and rhetoric on policing, immigration and more. Trump, for his part, didn’t take kindly to criticism from athletes or their on-field expressions of political opinions.

Under Biden, the tradition appears to be back. He’s hosted the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks and Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the White House. On Monday he joked about first lady Jill Biden’s Philadelphia allegiances.

“Like every Philly fan, she’s convinced she knows more about everything in sports than anybody else,” he said. He added that he couldn’t be too nice to the Atlanta team because it had just beaten the Phillies the previous night in extra innings.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was later questioned about the team’s name, particularly as other professional sports teams have moved away from names – like the Cleveland Indians, now the Guardians, and the Washington Redskins, now the Commanders – following years of complaints from Native American groups over the images and symbols.

She said it was important for the country to have the conversation. “And Native American and Indigenous voices – they should be at the center of this conversation,” she said.

Biden supported MLB’s decision to pull the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to protest Georgia’s sweeping new voting law, which critics contend is too restrictive.