The Yankees’ four-day respite (due to the Subway Series scheduled for this past weekend being delayed) provided Aaron Judge with chances to test his right calf in the batter’s box and on the basepaths, and as the slugger prepares to return to action in Wednesday’s doubleheader against the Braves in Atlanta, his goal is to be a lineup mainstay the rest of the way.
“The past couple of days, I’ve just been ramping up my swing again to face some velocity,” said Judge, who was in the Yanks’ lineup at designated hitter before inclement weather forced the postponement of Tuesday night’s game. “I’m ready. We tested it a couple times on the bases, doing some sprints, so I’m ready to go.”
Judge is likely to take at least one turn as the DH in Wednesday’s twin bill, which will feature the Yankees and Braves playing two seven-inning games beginning at 4:10 p.m. ET. Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to face right-hander Ian Anderson in the first game, with right-hander Masahiro Tanaka going opposite left-hander Max Fried in the nightcap.
“It’s 2020, baby,” manager Aaron Boone said. “We’ve got to figure it out. It creates a challenge. The seven-inning games makes it a little more doable, not as daunting, but there’s no question we’re heading into a tough stretch here.”
In addition to activating Judge from the injured list, the club placed left-hander Luis Avilán on the 10-day IL retroactive to Saturday with left shoulder inflammation, recalling infielder/outfielder Miguel Andújar and right-hander Brooks Kriske from the alternate training site in Moosic, Pa.
Judge’s return is coming at a good time for the Yankees, who enjoyed what manager Aaron Boone likened to an All-Star break after their weekend series was postponed due to a pair of positive COVID-19 tests for the Mets.
The Bombers will not have much rest the rest of the way; after Thursday, their next scheduled day without a game is Sept. 14, which is supposed to be their final dark date before the postseason. They are now scheduled to play doubleheaders on Wednesday (Braves), Friday (Mets) and Sunday (Mets).
“We just have to keep our minds right and put our best foot forward,” Boone said.
Delays for J.A.
J.A. Happ has been displeased by his sporadic workload this season, which he hinted may be related to a $17 million vesting option for the 2021 season. That would have kicked in after 165 innings or 27 starts in a 162-game season, and Happ believes the matter will ultimately be settled by an arbitrator.
“It actually doesn’t take too much to figure out sort of what could be going on,” Happ said. “I know I’ve been healthy. I know I’ve been ready to pitch.”
The lefty has pitched to a 6.39 ERA in three starts this season, coming off a 2019 campaign in which he went 12-8 with a 4.91 ERA in 31 games (30 starts) for New York, surrendering a career-high 34 home runs in 161 1/3 innings.
Happ is scheduled to make his fourth start of the season on Saturday against the Mets. He has not pitched since Aug. 16 vs. Boston; prior to that, he pitched on Aug. 5 at Philadelphia. Happ was asked if he’d welcome being dealt ahead of the Aug. 31 Trade Deadline.
“I love my teammates in that room, and I want to go out there and compete with them,” Happ said. “I know I can help them and I feel like that’s what I’m anxious to do. There’s nowhere else I’d rather be.”
This date in Yankees history
Aug. 25, 2011: The Yanks become the first team to hit three grand slams in a game (Robinson Canó, Russell Martin and Curtis Granderson) in a 22-9 rout of the A’s.