As it relates to the return of star rightfielder Aaron Judge, there’s both good news and bad news for the New York Yankees and their fans.
Per Erik Boland of Newsday, Judge took on-field batting practice on Monday and Tuesday. He’s slated to do the same on Wednesday. Judge also worked in the field, throwing from right field to both third base and home. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that there’s still no return date set.
“I’d rather it continue to unfold every day,” manager Aaron Boone said, per Boland. “He’ll hit again [Wednesday], we have the off day Thursday. And then I think the work gets pretty extensive hopefully over the weekend, and then we’ll probably have a decision about how we’re going to go about things.”
The Yankees are in an interesting spot.
On the one hand, they do not want to rush Judge. New York is all but locked into the American League Wild Card Game against the Oakland Athletics (or possibly Houston Astros). The only thing that can really change now is where that game is played. And as important as home field advantage is, it’s not worth risking further injury for any player, especially one like Judge.
On the other hand, if Judge is going to be back for the playoffs, it’s important that he gets back into the swing of things. That Wild Card Game is single-elimination. If New York does escape that, it will be looking at a best-of-five series, likely against the Boston Red Sox. A player returning from an injury midseason might struggle some, but both he and his team have wiggle room. That’s not the case here.
So, while the stakes for the Yankees are fairly minimal for the remainder of the regular season, getting a healthy Judge back as soon as possible remains important.