NEW YORK -- It’s the season premiere of "All Rise: Part II."
The Yankees once again welcomed Aaron Judge back to their starting lineup on Wednesday, confident that his return will last longer than his six-inning cameo 2 1/2 weeks ago. Judge hit second and played right field.
“There’s a lot of excitement, just seeing him walk in today,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “Writing him back in the lineup is big. Hopefully we’ll get through today and start building these guys up. We’re getting a lot closer to being whole.”
There have been several big names riding the shuttle between Yankee Stadium and the club’s alternate training site in Moosic, Pa. Judge’s return from the injured list came one day after designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton, third baseman Gio Urshela and right-hander Jonathan Loaisiga were all activated.
“It's great to have all the original pieces in line,” Stanton said. “It's good that we can get 10-plus games together to make this push into the postseason.”
Judge had been on the IL since Aug. 28, two days after he aggravated a right calf strain in his first game back from his initial IL stint, having originally sustained the injury on Aug. 11. Judge was hitting .292 with nine home runs, 20 RBIs and a 1.081 OPS in his first 18 games this season.
Boone said that he envisions resting Judge on Thursday, when Stanton is expected to serve as the Yanks’ DH. The plan is for the sluggers to have two days on, followed by a day off, then three days on, with the intent of both being ready to play daily during the postseason.
“I believe they’re healthy, and I’m excited about that,” Boone said. “Part of the reason we’re going lightly is because they didn’t have a big rehab process as far as going down and playing a number of games. They went and got at-bats for a couple of days.”
With Stanton in the lineup for the first time since Aug. 8, when he sustained a left hamstring strain, the Yankees defeated the Blue Jays by a 20-6 margin in Tuesday's series opener. Stanton went 0-for-4 out of the cleanup spot as the designated hitter.
“I think we’ve still got to be smart with this for the long haul,” Stanton said. “We’ve got a plan in place for these 12 games. If we just stick to that, we should be good and ready to go into the postseason.”
Pax all, folks
The Yankees transferred left-hander James Paxton to the 45-day injured list prior to Wednesday’s game, an indication that the hurler has made his final regular-season appearance of the season. Paxton was 1-1 with a 6.64 ERA in five starts before landing on the injured list with a strained left flexor tendon.
It is possible, but not probable, that Paxton could return to pitch out of the bullpen for a potential American League Championship Series. In a corresponding move, the club signed catcher Wynston Sawyer to a Major League contract, selected him to the Major League roster and assigned him to the alternate training site.
One more night
Gleyber Torres was not in the Yanks’ starting lineup for a third consecutive game on Wednesday as the club continues to manage the shortstop’s left quadriceps tightness, which Boone described as “a minor situation.”
Torres came off the bench to deliver a pinch-hit two-run double in the eighth inning on Sunday, then was not needed in Tuesday’s blowout.
“Gleyber is good. I just feel like one more day is best here, just to be safe,” Boone said. “He really wanted in there today. He really wanted in there yesterday as well. … He's not somebody that we feel like we can afford to lose heading into the postseason.”
Luke Voit claimed the Major League lead with his 17th and 18th home runs during Tuesday’s rout of Toronto. He has a chance to become the eighth Yankee to lead the Majors in homers, a feat last accomplished by Alex Rodriguez (54) during his 2007 American League MVP Award campaign.
Voit’s 18 homers are ahead of the Twins’ Nelson Cruz (16), the Angels’ Mike Trout (16), the Dodgers’ Mookie Betts (15) and several other notable names.
“Those are all guys that are MVPs; Nelson Cruz is still doing it at 40 years old, which is really impressive,” Voit said. “It's awesome company. I'm going to keep working harder and always try to get better. It's just my blue-collar work ethic.”
This date in Yankees history
Sept. 16, 2008: Derek Jeter registered his 1,270th hit at the original Yankee Stadium, surpassing Lou Gehrig (1,269) for the most all-time hits at the ballpark. Jeter’s record-setting hit was a single off White Sox right-hander Gavin Floyd.