Judge (calf) may return to IL; LeMahieu close

August 27th, 2020

NEW YORK – While could be returning to the injured list with a recurrence of his right calf injury, the Yankees are preparing to welcome back to the lineup as soon as this weekend, manager Aaron Boone said Thursday on WFAN.

On the 10-day IL with a left thumb sprain, LeMahieu took on-field batting practice Thursday at Yankee Stadium, as did designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton. Boone said that LeMahieu will report to the alternate site in Moosic, Pa. and could return to play in the Subway Series against the Mets.

Boone said that infielder Gleyber Torres is recovering well from his left hamstring and left quadriceps strains, running on the field Thursday. Boone said that he believes LeMahieu is further ahead of Torres, but that Torres should be able to hit the two-to-three week estimate that was given on Aug. 11.

Those positive developments were tempered by the latest update on Judge, who underwent an MRI on Thursday in New York and could return to the 10-day injured list with a recurrence of his right calf strain.

Playing for the first time since Aug. 11, Judge experienced tightness in his right calf while running the bases in the fourth inning of Wednesday’s 2-1 loss to the Braves at Truist Park. He remained in the game for two more innings before being replaced.

“It seems like a recurrence of what he had before,” Boone said on Thursday. “It pretty much looks like the same spot and everything. It does seem minor in nature again, but certainly something that could turn into an IL stint again.”

On Aug. 11, Judge was removed early from a 9-6 victory over Atlanta at Yankee Stadium with what an MRI revealed to be a Grade 1 strain of his right calf.

Wednesday’s situation was similar, Boone said, in that the coaching staff noticed Judge favoring the calf while playing the outfield.

“We noticed him stretching it in the outfield,” Boone said. “I don’t think he necessarily felt an instant where he’d pulled it. I think it tightened up on him.”

At the time, Judge said that he was “begging” the Yankees not to place him on the injured list, believing that two or three days of rest would be enough to return to the lineup.

The setback is the latest in a series of injuries that Boone said has left the slugger “very frustrated.” Had the regular season started as originally scheduled, Judge would have missed Opening Day due to a fractured right rib and a punctured lung.

In 18 games this season, Judge is batting .292/.343/.738 with two doubles, nine home runs and 20 RBIs. If Judge returns to the IL, the Yankees’ outfield projects to return to a rotation of Clint Frazier, Brett Gardner, Aaron Hicks and Mike Tauchman.

“Injuries are a huge factor; they were last year,” Boone said. “We have the people that allow us to maintain and manage. We expect to still thrive, despite the fact we have some guys down.”