October 11, 2020 | 4:19am
In the last third of the regular season, the Yankees repeatedly said the reason Luke Voit was limping any time he toured the bases after hitting a home run was a foot issue.
The right-handed hitting Voit wore a protective shin guard on his left foot, but didn’t reveal which foot had the issue.
After the Yankees lost, 2-1, to the Rays in Game 5 of the ALDS on Friday night at Petco Park in San Diego, the hulking first baseman shed more light on the issue when he announced he will undergo an MRI exam on Sunday in New York.
The foot issue might have finally caught up to Voit, who shouldered the blame for the Yankees failing to advance to the ALCS, where the Astros and Rays begin the best-of-seven series on Sunday night at Petco.
“I felt like I let my team down. I had a terrible five games against those guys. They have good pitching and we have to do better,’’ said Voit, who went 0-for-3 and finished 5-for-25 (.200). “It’s frustrating and it sucks. It’s fuel for the fire for next year.’’
Considering he is 29, made $634,000 this past season when he hit .277, posted a .948 OPS and led the majors with 22 home runs, he is attractive not only to the Yankees, but also to other teams.
Though it would be somewhat of a surprise if the Yankees dealt him, they could do that to make room at first for DJ LeMahieu, if they retain him. Such a move could result in Gleyber Torres moving back to second base and the Yankees acquiring a shortstop.
The Yankees were slated to arrive in The Bronx around 9 p.m. Saturday, and for some players, it would be the final return to Yankee Stadium.
Pitchers J.A. Happ, Masahiro Tanaka and James Paxton are free agents. So, is LeMahieu. The Yankees have a $10 million option with a $2 million buyout on Brett Gardner.
Tanaka, LeMahieu and Gardner are the most likely to return out of that group.