TORONTO — It’s clear the Yankees are riding with Anthony Rizzo at first base down the stretch, with Luke Voit benched again with a left-hander on the mound on Tuesday.
Manager Aaron Boone said he weighed playing the righty-swinging Voit against Blue Jays left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu, but went with Rizzo instead. Rizzo went 2-for-5 with an RBI in the Yankees’ 7-2 win.
As for Thursday, when Toronto is scheduled to start another lefty, Robbie Ray, the manager said Voit would “maybe” be a consideration.
“He was a strong consideration for me [Tuesday],’’ Boone said. “I thought long and hard about it. I think Luke is in the conversation to play each and every day.”
However, he routinely ends up on the bench — and with Rizzo due to become a free agent following the season, the Yankees’ lack of faith in Voit and uncertainty regarding Rizzo’s future leaves their first-base situation going into 2022 a bit murky.
After getting off to a hot start following his trade from the Cubs to The Bronx in July, Rizzo has cooled off considerably — especially after a stint on the injured list with COVID last month.
Rizzo said he isn’t thinking about what he wants to do next year with the Yankees in the midst of a stretch run.
“Just with the experience of coming over here, the whole season has been an up-and-down roller coaster,” Rizzo said. “I’m taking one thing at a time. I’m not even looking a day ahead. That [decision] is gonna come six, seven, eight weeks from now. Then I’ll put some thought into it.”
The Yankees are undoubtedly starting that process sooner.
They already reorganized nearly their entire infield on the fly to accommodate Gleyber Torres, whose struggles at shortstop finally were too much for Boone to bear.
The manager shifted Torres to second base, DJ LeMahieu to third and Gio Urshela to short and the results have so far been positive.
First base has been more of a mixed bag.
Voit, after homering in two of three games on Sept. 14 and Sept. 18, had started just twice since then and didn’t have a hit in either start.
Since moving to more of a bench role when Rizzo got back into the lineup in late August, Voit is just 9-for-54 with a double, four homers, seven RBIs, seven walks and 21 strikeouts.
That stretch followed Voit’s hottest part of the season, when he started to look like the hitter he was a year ago, when he led the majors with 22 homers in the COVID-shortened season.
There’s no guarantee either player will be the Yankees’ primary first baseman in 2022.
The Yankees clearly tired of Voit’s inability to stay healthy after he had to undergo surgery to repair the meniscus in his left knee during spring training and missed time with a hamstring injury and left knee inflammation.
Rizzo will have plenty of suitors in the offseason, with the possibility of going back to Chicago or perhaps the Red Sox, who were also interested in trading for Rizzo before the trade deadline in July.
Since his return from the IL, Rizzo has been solid, but not spectacular.
In 34 games, he’s 29-for-118 with seven doubles, three homers and a dozen RBIs, with 11 walks and 21 strikeouts for a rather pedestrian .715 OPS.
Rizzo was also underwhelming with the Cubs before the trade this year, but the 32-year-old showed how dangerous he can be when he got off to a torrid start with the Yankees.