Judge expected back in lineup Tuesday

August 23rd, 2020

NEW YORK -- Aaron Judge said that he was “begging” the Yankees not to place him on the injured list for a Grade 1 strain of his right calf, believing that it would only take a few days to heal. As it turned out, the slugging outfielder missed fewer games than anticipated.

Judge is expected to return to the Yankees’ lineup on Tuesday, when the club opens a two-game Interleague series against the Braves in Atlanta. Judge was eligible to be activated from the IL on Saturday, but the weekend series at Citi Field was postponed because of the Mets’ two positive COVID-19 tests.

“I felt like I could have been back out there after a couple of days,” Judge said on Sunday. “That's why I was so adamant about not going on the IL to begin with. … I'm feeling great. I could run around, I could jump, I could swing a bat, I could throw. Everything that you need to do for a baseball game, I could do.”

Judge was removed from an Aug. 11 game against the Braves at Yankee Stadium after Boone believed he saw Judge favoring the calf while playing the outfield. Judge homered earlier in that contest, pelting the back wall of the right-field bullpen for his ninth home run of the season.

In recent days, Judge has continued to run bases and hit in the batting cages. He took live at-bats on the Yankee Stadium diamond during a workout on Sunday, facing teammates J.A. Happ and Jordan Montgomery. Though the Yankees haven’t played since Thursday, they are primed to begin a busy stretch that could include at least one doubleheader against the Mets next weekend.

“If you're swinging the bat well, doubleheaders are the best thing to a ballplayer,” Judge said. “I feel good in the box. I'm ready to go. Anytime you're coming off the injury, I know they're going to want to slow-play it a little bit, maybe mix in a DH one of those days. But I already talked to Boonie and told him I'm ready to go. Hopefully I’ll be in right field every single game.”

Comeback trail
Gleyber Torres said that he was “surprised” to learn that an MRI showed he had sustained strains of his left quadriceps and hamstring while running the bases last week, especially since the infielder has already been able to resume on-field activities.

Torres said that he jogged across the outfield at half-speed on Sunday, which he views as an encouraging development. Torres was removed from Thursday’s 10-5 loss to the Rays after stumbling running to first base, and the team has forecast an estimated recovery time of two to three weeks.

“I felt something, but I didn’t think it was too dangerous,” Torres said. “It felt like tightness. After the MRI showed everything, I felt bad, because I don't want to be on the injured list. I just want to compete with my teammates. I’ll just try to get rest, try to recover really well and try to get back to the field as soon as possible.”

With Torres on the 10-day injured list, Boone said that he envisions using Tyler Wade at shortstop and Thairo Estrada at second base. The club will also promote players from their alternate site in Moosic, Pa., where Matt Duffy, Kyle Holder and Jordy Mercer are among the infield options. Boone added that Gio Urshela could see time at shortstop in a backup role.

Torres said that he is already performing work in the weight room without pain, and he is hopeful that the club will permit him to resume swinging a bat within the week. On Saturday, left-hander James Paxton said that the shorter Summer Camp ramp-up to the regular season has played a part in the league-wide rash of injuries, but Torres doesn’t believe that is the case.

“The players prepared really well during the quarantine; myself, I prepared really well,” Torres said. “I think injuries just happen. Right now, it’s time to prepare myself a little bit better, try to get a little bit stronger in my lower half and just ready to play a game.”