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Judge optimistic about injured wrist, Yankees

MLB.com @BryanHoch

NEW YORK -- Though an initial estimate of three weeks for Aaron Judge to resume facing pitchers in games appears to have been overly optimistic, the Yankees slugger believes that his injured right wrist will heal in plenty of time for him to impact his club's pursuit of a postseason spot.

"The wrist is feeling all right. It could be better," Judge said. "I'm still right on track. I feel like hopefully I'll swing a bat here in the next couple of days or week sometime. We don't have a timetable on that yet. I know here shortly we should start ramping it up and get going, get swinging again."

NEW YORK -- Though an initial estimate of three weeks for Aaron Judge to resume facing pitchers in games appears to have been overly optimistic, the Yankees slugger believes that his injured right wrist will heal in plenty of time for him to impact his club's pursuit of a postseason spot.

"The wrist is feeling all right. It could be better," Judge said. "I'm still right on track. I feel like hopefully I'll swing a bat here in the next couple of days or week sometime. We don't have a timetable on that yet. I know here shortly we should start ramping it up and get going, get swinging again."

Judge spoke on Friday morning at the Oakley flagship store in Manhattan, celebrating a new promotional partnership with the sunglass brand. Judge sustained a chip fracture of the wrist when he was hit by a pitch on July 26, and said that he continues to feel discomfort as a result of the injury.

Video: KC@NYY: Judge gets hit by pitch, fractures wrist

"When I'm healthy, I hope my job is still there," Judge said with a laugh. "I hope I can slide back into this lineup because we've got such a great young team. It hasn't been fun sitting back and watching, but being sidelined and getting a chance to watch this team, there's so much talent on the field. It's something special to watch."

Yankees manager Aaron Boone had hoped that Judge could resume swinging during the team's visit to Chicago this week. That did not happen, but Judge ran the bases and continued range-of-motion exercises at Yankee Stadium on Thursday, and Boone said that Judge has been able to continue his weight-lifting program.

"It's tough, but like I said, we've got a good team," Judge said. "They're going to pick us up. They're going to pick all of us up. That's the one thing I heard from all of my teammates; they heard about the injury and how long I'd be out. They said, 'Hey, man, we got this. We're going to keep doing our thing and keep holding it down until you get back.' They've been doing that."

Despite watching a four-game sweep from the visiting dugout at Fenway Park last weekend, Judge believes that the Yankees still have time to catch the Red Sox in the American League East. New York opened play on Friday eight games behind Boston for the division, and with a 4 1/2-game lead over the Athletics for the first Wild Card spot.

"We're always hunting for the division," Judge said. "August just started. We've got August and September. A lot of crazy things have happened. For us, our goal has always been the division. It doesn't matter how many games we're back. We're going to keep fighting for that. We've got a good team and after the Trade Deadline we added a couple of great arms and some good bats. Our hunt is always the division, no matter what happens. It was just four games [in Boston], so you kind of move on and keep winning."

Judge said that he is "excited" for the Yankees' next meeting with the Red Sox, in which Boston will visit Yankee Stadium on Sept. 18-20 -- a three-game series that Judge certainly expects to be playing in.

"They've got a good team," Judge said. "We weren't able to pull out any games [in Boston], but the thing with our team is to keep fighting. The biggest thing is that we kept battling. Even if we got down early, with our team, it didn't matter. We kept having good at-bats and it was a good experience for us. We've got a good team, too. For them to go out there in that environment and face some adversity, I think it's going to help us down the road."

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge