Knicks rekindle fire in largest win since 1996

new york knicks, rj barrett

Following a three-game slide, New York Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau declared his team is in a bit of funk, and they have to work collectively to get out of it.

The Knicks responded with their largest win since a 46-point rout (125-79) of the Toronto Raptors in 1996.

Julius Randle led six Knicks in double figures as the entire team issued a season-high 31 assists in blowing out the Detroit Pistons, 125-81, Saturday night at the Little Caesars Arena.

“I just love the togetherness, the spirit of the team. They care about each other. Obviously, we’re disappointed with the losses. And to come back and bounce back the way we did, it says a lot about the character of the team,” Thibodeau said.

“Obviously, we still have a long way to go. But these guys are terrific. They work hard, they play for each other. And you can see it. There’s the intent to correct it,” Thibodeau added. “But the spirit of the team, the resiliency, it showed out. And that’s what you have to do. You have to fight for the things that you want.”

Randle typified the Knicks’ determination to rebound. The All-Star forward bounced back from an ugly 5-for-20 shooting against Dallas the night before with 9-for-16 tonight. He scored 20 of his game-high 29 points in the first quarter that set the tone for their most emphatic win of the season.

The Knicks vented their frustrations on the hapless Pistons, the worst team in the Eastern Conference, with a 14-0 start and never looked back.

Randle and Reggie Bullock, who had a season-high 22 points, hit four triples each in the opening period. The Knicks led 41-15 after the first quarter.

It was so one-sided that Thibodeau was comfortable resting his starters in the fourth quarter. He let all his players, including newly-signed Norvel Pelle, play.

Pelle, who recently signed a 10-day contract, had a sensational debut with the Knicks. After dislocating his finger on a dunk attempt, Pelle just shrugged it off and punctuated the victory with two consecutive blocks on Pistons rookie Isaiah Stewart.

Pelle had one point, three rebounds, and two blocks in under three minutes.

RJ Barrett also rebounded from his subpar play against Dallas with 14 points on efficient 5-of-7 shooting.

Elfrid Payton had his finest performance this season with 11 points and a game-high nine assists.

The huge win pushed the Knicks’ record back to .500 (25-25). More importantly, they gained a bit of separation from the Boston Celtics (24-25) for the East’s solo seventh spot.

After the worst team in the East, the best team of the conference—crosstown rival Brooklyn Nets (34-15)—awaits them in New York. The Knicks will have their hands full on Monday as there’s a possibility that the Nets’ Big 3 of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden will be complete.

In a classic Thibodeau fashion, the Knicks pragmatic coach said they approach the game like the way they think of every opponent.

“We know how talented they are. We have to be ready. Even if one is out, they have a ton of talent. They’ve added more talent to their team. We know if we defend, we rebound and keep our turnovers down, we’re more than capable,” Thibodeau said.

Easier said than done. But that’s the difference for these overachieving Knicks than the previous years. Their confidence comes from Thibodeau’s maniacal preparation.

“We gotta study, prepare and be ready to go when the ball goes up,” Thibodeau said.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

The New York Rangers Squander Third Period Lead Against Buffalo

The New York Rangers once again gave up a late third-period goal against the worst team in the NHL. This time it cost them a point in the standings as they lose in a shootout to the Buffalo Sabres by the score of 3-2.

Artemi Panarin scored goals in the first and second periods to lead the Blueshirts scoring effort.

Panarin continues to contribute in so many ways for the Rangers. He has posted a multi-point game in each of the last three games with three goals and four assists. Panarin has also posted a multi-point game in 12 of 26 games he has played in the 2020-21 season.

Adam Fox assisted on Panarin’s second goal. His 29 assists this season are tied for the most among NHL defensemen, tied with Victor Hedman.

This game also marked the debut of Vitali Kravtsov, who joined the Rangers after a very nice season in the KHL. With the addition of Kravtsov, the Rangers played four Russian-born players in tonight’s game (Panarin, Pavel Buchnevich, Igor Shesterkin, and Kravtsov). According to the NHL public relations department, this will be tied for the most Russian-born players to appear in the same game in Rangers franchise history.

The New York Rangers fall short in Vitali Kravstov’s season debut.

Kravtsov finished the game with 10:45 TOI and three shots, including one diving attempt that almost won the game for the Blueshirts.

In his post-game Zoom conference, Panarin talked about how his young Russian teammate fared in his first game. “He started a little nervous at the beginning,” Panarin said. ” He played not to make a mistake but also played for the team. Had a really good chance at the end, and we’re really happy to have [him].”

Even in the loss, head coach David Quinn was still impressed with Kravtsov’s debut. In his post-game Zoom comments, Quinn said: “He played well. I thought he was engaged, I thought he played at a good pace and I actually liked that line (he played with Alexis Lafreniere and Filip Chytil), for the most part.”

The Rangers return home on Tuesday night to take on the Pittsburgh Penguins.

 

 

 

New York Giants CB Isaac Yiadom takes $1M pay cut to stay on team

New York Giants, Isaac Yiadom

The New York Giants have been moving on from players to save cost this offseason, but at least one player is going to take less money as a willing measure. That player is the one that spent much of the year as the number two corner, Isaac Yiadom.

Yiadom joined the Giants in 2020 after a trade with the Broncos and was mainly brought on due to the Giants cutting DeAndre Baker in the offseason. That ended up being something of a mistake, as Baker was cleared of wrongdoing in the offseason drama he was wrapped up in. But the Giants had already made their choice, and were left without a reliable second cornerback.

Yiadom was never the long term option at the spot and now that the Giants are heading into the draft as well as adding Adoree’ Jackson into the mix, it looks like something had to change to keep him on the roster. That change came in the form of restructuring his deal, after the Giants spent up much of their cap space in the free agent spending spree that brought Jackson and others to East Rutherford.

He’ll miss out on about $1M in profits thanks to the restructuring, but has a better chance of avoiding getting cut.

While most didn’t think Yiadom would hold on to the CB2 spot long term, he does have potential as a backup and many will be happy to see him agree to stay with the Giants for less money. He was, after all, good enough to last the season after getting to the Giants while putting on some good moments in his role next to James Bradberry.

Who should start at right tackle for the New York Giants in 2021?

New York Giants, Matt Peart

The New York Giants appear to have a position battle brewing on their offensive line. New York has its projected left tackle of the future in first-round pick Andrew Thomas. But on the other side of the line, the Giants have a giant question mark at right tackle.

In 2020, that position was manned by stop-gap journeyman Cam Fleming. Rotated into that position was also rookie offensive tackle Matt Peart out of UConn. With Fleming no longer on the Giants’ roster, many have assumed that Peart will take over the starting job.

But the Giants have a familiar face returning to the lineup as a potential starting offensive tackle. Nate Solder opted out of the 2020 season but will return in 2021 and compete at right tackle along with Matt Peart. It will likely come down to a camp battle between Peart and Solder. But the possibility remains that New York adds another right tackle candidate to the mix in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Matt Peart

The New York Giants selected Matt Peart in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Peart saw limited playing time in his rookie season, playing just 15% of the Giants’ offensive snaps (150 snaps). But Matt Peart looked good during his time on the field with the Giants.

Matt Peart finished the 2020 season with a respectable 69.7 overall Pro Football Focus grade. He allowed only 2 sacks on the year and recorded an elite performance in Week 6 against Washington (89.7 PFF grade). Peart also surrendered 0 pressures in the Giants’ second matchup with the Washington Football Team.

Matt Peart flashed a lot of potential as a rookie. Albeit, he did not see the field that much. But when he was on the field, Peart’s play was impressive. Dave Gettleman also stated that he feels comfortable going into 2021 with Matt Peart as the starting right tackle. If Matt Peart can build on his rookie season with more playing time in 2021, he could solidify himself as a long-term starter at right tackle for the Giants.

Nate Solder

Veteran offensive tackle Nate Solder has not played right tackle since his rookie season in 2011. In 2012, Solder made the switch to the left side of the line and never turned back. In 2018, the Giants paid him a historically large contract to be their starting left tackle. Solder never lived up to that contract, opted out in 2020, and is now looking to play a new role with the Giants in 2021.

Nate Solder will compete for the right tackle job this season. His contract numbers have been reduced significantly this offseason and the Giants want to see him remain with the team in an undetermined role. Solder could potentially win that right tackle job. But it is possible that he gets pegged into the role of a swing tackle.

Of course, the Giants could add a new offensive tackle to their roster before the season begins. The 2021 NFL Draft will take place at the end of this month and New York could land themselves a new right tackle to add to the competition. It will be interesting to see how the right tackle position shapes out for the New York Giants in 2021.

UFC books headliner between Chan Sung Jung and Dan Ige

The UFC might not have any fights today, but that isn’t keeping them out of the news. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto was the first to report today that the promotion has finalized a headliner between Chan Sung Jung (16-6) and Dan Ige (15-3).

The matchup of the top ten UFC featherweights will headliner a Fight Night on June 19th. The promotion also finalized the Fight Night main event for the following week featuring heavyweights Ciryl Gane and Alexander Volkov. 

A matchup against The Korean Zombie is exactly what Dan Ige has been asking the UFC for. Ige just knocked out Gavin Tucker in seconds a few weeks ago and immediately called for a fight with TKZ.

Dan Ige is now 7-1 in his last eight UFC appearances with the lone loss coming to Calvin Kattar. Ige has been wanting another shot at the division’s elite to show that he can compete for a title.

Well, it doesn’t get much more elite than the Zombie. This is going to be a big test for Dan Ige and if he’s able to pull it off, expect him to get a potential title eliminator at 145 in his next UFC matchup.

UFC return for TKZ

Last October, Chan Sung Jung found himself in a title eliminator against Brian Ortega. Had TKZ won that fight, he would have earned a shot against the UFC featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovksi.

Due to Ortega’s inactivity, The Zombie was the favorite heading into the matchup. However, Brian Ortega dominated the fight and Jung suffered his first loss in the octagon since 2018.

Now, TKZ is looking to get back on track and start marching towards the featherweight title. That journey starts at the UFC Fight Night on June 19th. If Jung is able to defeat Ige, he will likely be right back in the title picture. This is a huge matchup for the featherweight division.

UFC books headliner between Ciryl Gane and Alexander Volkov

Ciryl Gane UFC

The UFC has finalized a massive matchup in the heavyweight division. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto was the first to report today that the promotion has finalized a matchup between the undefeated Ciryl Gane (8-0) and Alexander Volkov (33-8).

The fight will headline a UFC Fight Night on June 26th. For Ciryl Gane, this matchup on June 26th will be his next step up in competition. The French heavyweight has been slowly climbing the ladder since his UFC debut in 2019.

Last December, Gane knocked out former heavyweight champion, Junior Dos Santos. After that knockout win, the UFC gave him a quick turnaround to headline a card in February against Jairzinho Rozenstruik.

The matchup was being built up as a matchup between two knockout artist in the heavyweight division. However, the fight failed to live up to expectations and neither man landed any massive shots during the fight.

That said, the fight was still a domination from Ciryl Gane who won all five rounds on all three scorecards. Gane is now 5-0 in the UFC and could be one win away from a title shot.

UFC title eliminator?

Alexander Volkov looked better than ever in his last outing. Just a couple of weeks before Gane defeated Rozenstruik, Volkov took on Alistair Overeem in the main event of a fight night.

Unlike the Gane fight, this one didn’t go the distance. Volkov completely picked apart Overeem on his way to picking up his second straight UFC win. A few years ago, Volkov was only one win away from a title shot.

Well, in reality, he was seconds away from a title shot when he was fighting Derrick Lewis. However, The Black Beast landed a massive knockout shot in the final seconds to earn himself a shot at the UFC heavyweight title.

Now, Volkov appears to be in a similar position. He’s once again perhaps just a win away from earning himself a shot at the title. This should be a fantastic matchup on June 26th and a big one for the heavyweight division.

New York Yankees Recap: Corey Kluber good, Loaisiga brilliant, Sanchez homers again in win

New York Yankees, Jonathan Loaisiga

Today for the New York Yankees, Corey Kluber made his Yankee debut at Yankee Stadium, and he had 11 million reasons to pitch well. He will be a free agent at the end of the season; he would like to up his value to when he was a Cy Young Award winner. Today he faced the Toronto Blue Jays Ross Stripling a swingman forced into the starting rotation due to Blue Jays’ pitching injuries. Last year between the Dodgers and the Jays, he had a 3-3 record and an ERA hovering at 6.00. It was a beautiful day for baseball in the Bronx. The bright sun lighted the field throughout the game with a game temperature of 50.

Shortly after 1:05 pm, Corey Kluber took the Yankee’s mound; he faced Marcus Semien of the Jays. Semien singled sharply, Baggio at the plate Semien stole second. Baggio singled when Frazier lost the ball in the sun. Bichetter hit into a double play that Urshela was able to get rid of the ball quickly. Hernandez struck out to end the half and gave Kluber his first scoreless inning in pinstripes. LeMahieu led off for the Yankees against Stripling he popped out in the infield. Aaron Judge had a sharply hit single to left. Aaron Hicks struck out. Giancarlo Stanton walked, moving Judge to second. Gleyber Torres flew out to center, leaving two Yankees on base. No score.

At the top of the second, Vlad Guerrero Jr. was hit by a pitch. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. hit into a double play. Rowdy Tellez struck out to end the half. Jay Bruce at the bottom struck out. Gary Sanchez ground out. Gio Urshela singled to center. Clint Frazier hit a booming double to the left-field wall moving Urshela to third base. LeMahieu singled, and Urshela scored for the Yankee lead. Judge came to bat with men on the corners; he ground out. New York Yankees 1 Jay 0.

Grichuk against Kluber struck out.  Jensen walked, Semien walked, Biggio at the plate, Sanchez had a passed ball with Jensen reaching third. Matt Black, who worked with Kluber with the Indians, came out to the mound to talk things over. Semien stole second, and Jensen scored when Sanchez threw an off-center throw to second. Tie score with two outs. Bo Bichette struck out looking. Hicks led off the bottom, striking out. Stanton had a huge fly out to the left. Torres hit a single to right-center. Bruce went down looking. Yankees 1 Jays 1.

Hernandez started the fourth grounding out. Guerrero Jr. singled up the center. Gurriel Jr. line drove to left. Tellez flew out to Judge, and Judge fired in keeping Guerrero at third with men on the corners. Grichuk walked, loading the bases with Blue Jays. Danny Jansen ground out to end the half. Gary Sanchez at the bottom hit a line drive bomb into the left-field stands to give the Yankees the lead. Urshela struck out. Clint Frazier walked. LeMahieu singled, moving Frazier to second. The Jays relieved Stripling in favor of Chatwood. Aaron Judge loaded the bases for Hicks. Hicks singled, driving in Frazier as the Yankees tacked on a run. Stanton, with the bases, still loaded flew out behind the plate for the second out. Torres struck out, leaving the bases loaded. New York Yankees 3 Jays 1.

Marcus Semien homered off Kluber, and that was his day being replaced by Jonathan Loaisiga in the fifth. Baggio struck out, Bichette struck out, and Hernandez flew out to center, and Loaisiga goes 1-2-3. At the bottom, Bruce ground out to short. Sanchez flew out. Urshela singled and made it to second on a throwing error. Frazier ground out to end the inning. Yankees 3 Jays 1.

Loaisiga out for a second inning he grounded out Guerrero Jr. Gurriel Jr. ground out. Tellez struck out. For Loaisiga, that was 6 up and 6 down. At the bottom, LeMahieu walked. Judge flew out to left. Hicks struck out for his 6th time in two games. Stanton walked for two on and two outs. Gleyber Torres walked to load the bases again for the Yankees. Bruce hit his first hit as a Yankee and drove in two runs to give the Yankees a 5-2 lead. Sanchez ground out.

At the seventh, Lucas Luetge made his major league debut on the mound for the Yankees. Grichuk singled on a hit that dropped in front of Judge. Crichuk advanced on a ball that bounced off Sanchez’s chest protector. Then another got away from Sanchez, letting him go to third. Jansen struck out. Semien ground out, but Crichuk scored. Baggio ground out. Urshela at the bottom struck out, Frazier went down looking. The Jays made a pitching change, and LeMahieu made a lot out to right. Yankees 5 Jays 3.

At the top of the eight with O’Day on the mound, Bichette hit a blooped hit over DJ’s head. Hernandez had a base hit moving Bichetter to second. Guerrero Jr. flew out. Gurriel Jr. flew out to Gardner. Chad Green replaced O’Day. Tellez struck out.  Judge led off at the bottom of the eighth with a strikeout. Hicks walked. Stanton flew out to shallow center. Torres ground out to short. Yankees 5 Jays 3.

With last licks on the line for the Blue Jays, Chad Green returned to the mound to face Grichuk, who struck out. Joe Panik flew out to short. Semien popped out to Urshela, and that was the game. Final score Yankees 5 Jays 3. Kluber was good, but Loaisiga in relief went six up and six down. The New York Yankees had 11 hits and 6 walks with much traffic on the basepaths. Yet they were only able to score 5 runs, but it was enough.  The winning pitcher Jonathan Loaisiga, loser Stripling, and the save went to Chad Green.

 

 

 

 

 

NASCAR: Three pleasant surprise teams at the Easter break

In a year of dramatic parity, these three NASCAR teams have provided some solid surprise early showings through seven races.

There will be no Easter egg roll on asphalt on dirt for NASCAR’s national series, as the Cup, Xfinity, and Truck units have gone a brief hiatus. The premier Cup Series will return to action next Saturday night at Martinsville Speedway (7:30 p.m. ET, FS1).

With seven of 36 events down at the Cup level, parity has been the name of the game. We’ve seen seven different drivers win the first seven races. While some of the trophy-hoisters have been expected (Martin Truex Jr./Joey Logano), we’ve seen first-time winners (Michael McDowell/Christopher Bell), long droughts end (Kyle Larson/Ryan Blaney), and a young veteran start to build his tally up (William Byron).

This trio of teams has been particularly surprising, as we give them their due on a quiet weekend at the track…

DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 08: Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the #47 Kroger Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Cup Series 62nd Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 08, 2020 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

JTG Daugherty

Many eyes have turned to the NASCAR endeavors of a certain University of North Carolina alum turned NBA All-Star. The subject, of course, is Brad Daugherty and his shared team with Jodi and Tad Geschickter. There’s obviously plenty of time for Michael Jordan’s squad, 23XI Racing, to find their groove. In the meantime, it’s hard not to appreciate what Daugherty’s team has done in this young season.

One of the more interesting stories of the 2021 season is perhaps that of Ryan Preece. His No. 37 Chevrolet doesn’t have a charter, but he has managed to keep it competitive in the early going. Preece was one of four drivers (Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Michael McDowell the others) to finish in the top ten in each of the first two races. He’s also one of 11 drivers who have run at the finish of each of the seven events run so far.

Meanwhile, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. came to the team’s No. 47 after a disappointing tenure at Roush Fenway Racing. He has earned top 20 finishes in all seven races to date, capping it off with a runner-up posting at Bristol. The team currently holds one of the 16 playoff spots, a fantasyland that JTG Daugherty has not seen since its lone appearance in 2014 (A.J. Allmendinger). Stenhouse will undoubtedly be capable of winning at Talladega later this month. He won the 2017 spring event and drove the No. 47 to a narrow runner-up finish there last season.

Adding to their consistency, both Preece and Stenhouse have done a great job keeping their cars clean this season. The two have failed to complete only a combined six of a possible 3,388 laps.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 06: AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #16 Ellsworth Advisors Chevrolet, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series Alsco Uniforms 300 at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 06, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

Kaulig Racing

Anyone who has kept an eye on the NASCAR Xfinity Series would know that Kaulig Racing was on the rise through its victorious triumvirate. Such consistency has continued on the developmental level (Allmendinger won the Las Vegas race while he, Justin Haley, and Jeb Burton have united for 13 top tens). But their Cup program took some steps forward in the early showings as they inch closer to full-time status. Things got started when Kaz Grala raced his way into the Daytona 500’s main event (even leading 10 laps) before Allmendinger earned a top ten run at the ensuing road course event.

“I think it’s been the worst-kept secret that they have aspirations to get to the Cup Series, racing it full-time down the road, try to be a multi-car team down the road,” Grala said following his success at the Bluegreen Vacation Duels. “This is the first small step towards a big picture. I know (racing at Daytona) a victory for everybody at the team.”

BRISTOL, TENNESSEE – MARCH 29: Daniel Suarez, driver of the #99 Camping World Chevrolet, drives during the NASCAR Cup Series Food City Dirt Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 29, 2021 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Trackhouse Racing

It was fair to keep expectations low for Trackhouse Racing. Even with strong backing from recording artist and philanthropist Pitbull, new teams have often struggled to gain their footing in modern NASCAR. Behind the wheel was Daniel Suarez, who struggled mightily, even by low-budget standards, in Gaunt Brothers Racing’s No. 96 last season.

But Suarez has enjoyed a slight resurgence in the seat of the team’s No. 99 Chevrolet. Signs of progress were apparent even before his top five run at the Bristol dirt event. The team probably would’ve earned a top ten finish at Atlanta if not for Suarez’s speeding penalty on pit road. He earned top 20 runs in the next two races after getting caught up in the early “Big One” in Trackhouse’s Daytona debut. The No. 99 currently sits in 20th in the standings, best amongst new teams and 28 points out of a playoff spot.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags 

 

Mets’ Francisco Lindor has ‘341 million reasons’ to give his all

On Wednesday, the New York Mets and Francisco Lindor agreed to a 10-year, $341 million extension that will be added to his current one-year commitment. He will be in Queens until his age-38 season.

That way, the Mets have the star player that new owner Steve Cohen and team president Sandy Alderson coveted since they took over the organization a few months ago. Lindor is third in Wins Above Replacement, or WAR, since the 2015 season, when he made his MLB debut.

When he became the highest-paid shortstop in the world, the Mets’ star called his fiancée, then his sister, and then his dad according to the story told by MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo. He told his father he wanted to scream, but Miguel Lindor told him not to. It was late on Wednesday.

“I’m like, ‘Pops, what are you talking about?’” Francisco Lindor said, laughing. “‘You know when you drive down the highway and you see the billboard for the Powerball that says $300 million? You’re going to tell me you’re not going to scream? I’m going to scream. I want to scream.’”

“Obviously, I’ve been working for this my whole entire life. It wasn’t like I picked out a number and I got it,” he said.

The Mets could get the deal done after days of negotiations

Now, after a few days of seemingly hard stances by both camps, the Mets and the player’s, he can say he got more money than Fernando Tatis, who recently signed a 14-year, $340 deal with the San Diego Padres, and surpassed Mookie Betts’ present-day value. His plan is to make New York his home.

“I know I haven’t been to New York, but the guys, the boys made me feel comfortable around them,” Lindor said. “They made me a part of what they have in the clubhouse, and I love that. I love the opportunity that I have to bring a championship to the city of Queens.”

He is prepared to be the Mets’ franchise player. “When you talk about being the face of an organization, the face of baseball, also a Latin player,” manager Luis Rojas said, “it’s because of his personality. That should be natural for him, just because of all the things he does with his demeanor. And it’s consistent every day.”

“This logo right here means a lot,” Lindor said, pointing to the N and Y in his clothes. “I’ve got to go out there every single day and defend it, and play as hard as I can for this, for what I have on my chest. That’s what it means. That number next to me? That’s what it means. Those are 341 million reasons for me to go out there and play the game the right way.”

Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone provides updated timetable on Luke Voit’s return

New York Yankees, Luke Voit

The New York Yankees have been forced to play the first few weeks of the 2021 season without one of the anchors of their lineup. Luke Voit, who led not only the Bombers but also the whole league in home runs last year with 22, recently suffered a partially torn meniscus that required surgery.

The timetable for his recovery was somewhat up in the air. The Yankees knew that he would need to rest (no baseball activities whatsoever) for three weeks after the surgery, performed on Monday in New York, but he would need to get in baseball shape after that. He needs to regain some conditioning, take batting practice, and then face some live pitching before even thinking about playing for the Yankees.

Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone confirmed on Saturday that the hulking first baseman will return at some point in May, which is a sign that he is progressing well in the days after the surgical procedure.

The Yankees miss Voit

Jay Bruce is playing first base for the Yankees while Voit is out. The latter’s absence will be felt not only on the diamond, but also outside of it. Voit is a respected figure in the Yankees’ clubhouse, and the team is clearly better when he is around.

“Luke is a big part of this team, a big part of this offense,” Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge recently told MLB.com, the league’s official site. “He brings a lot to the table, a guy that’s going to hit in the middle of this lineup, hits for power and uses the whole field. He’s a vocal guy in the clubhouse and gets us motivated, so we’re going to be missing out on that for at least a month.”

But fans should be patient for just a few more weeks, and then they will get to see Voit back raking.