NEW YORK -- The Yankees' acquisition of Andrew McCutchen from the Giants does not necessarily mean that they are turning out the lights on Aaron Judge's return, manager Aaron Boone said on Friday. To the contrary, they believe that the talented hitters will soon co-exist in the same lineup."I think
NEW YORK -- The Yankees' acquisition of Andrew McCutchen from the Giants does not necessarily mean that they are turning out the lights on Aaron Judge's return, manager Aaron Boone said on Friday. To the contrary, they believe that the talented hitters will soon co-exist in the same lineup.
"I think we're still very optimistic [of Judge's return]," Boone said. "It's obviously taken a little longer than we originally thought, but the plan is -- and belief is -- that he'll be back. When that is, we're not quite sure, but he'll be back, hopefully with plenty of time to get ready as we go down the stretch."
• Yankees acquire McCutchen from Giants
Judge sustained a chip fracture in his right wrist on July 26, when he was hit by a pitch from the Royals' Jakob Junis. Judge has been running the bases and throwing lightly, but there is no set date for him to resume swinging a bat.
That's partly why the Yankees agreed to send infielder Abiatal Avelino and right-hander Juan De Paula to San Francisco in exchange for McCutchen, who is expected to play regularly in right field until Judge's return.
"Hopefully it allows us, before Aaron comes back, a little bit of flexibility and that ability to hopefully spell some different guys and keep guys as fresh as we can," Boone said. "But we absolutely believe Aaron will be back."
Release the Kraken
A noticeably trimmer Gary Sanchez joined the Yankees on Friday and is set to be activated prior to Saturday's matinee against the Tigers. Sanchez focused on conditioning during his second stint on the disabled list with a right groin strain.
"It's tough when you're injured and you're in a position like that," Sanchez said through an interpreter. "You watch the games and there's nothing you can do. You want to get back, you want to help, you want to play. At the same time, you keep watching and you keep rooting for your teammates and for all the guys to have a good game and keep winning games. It's tough. Nobody wants to be injured. Nobody wants to be on the disabled list and not be able to play."
Sanchez went 3-for-16 with two homers in four games for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Boone plans to have Sanchez catch regularly, with Austin Romine shuttled to a backup role, starting once or twice per week.
"You never know when you're going to get injured, how you're going to get injured," Sanchez said. "The positive thing here is that I feel really good and I'm ready to play. That's the really good thing about this whole thing."
Boone believes Sanchez should be able to maintain his current physical condition, which could translate into better results on both sides of the ball.
"He has really gotten after it while he's been down, and I think the result -- as you can see him right now -- is really good," Boone said. "I think he's excited about where he's at from a conditioning standpoint and I think he deserves a lot of credit for the position he's in right now. I think it's something that will continue to be a priority for him, and hopefully we'll see some tangible results from it."
Rosters will expand to 40 players on Saturday, meaning that the Yankees can add both McCutchen and Sanchez without having to remove a player from their clubhouse. Other reinforcements may be summoned, but Boone said that left-hander Justus Sheffield -- the organization's top pitching prospect, according to MLB Pipeline -- will not be among their initial callups.
"I would say he continues to be in the conversation in the short-term, but I don't think we'll see him [Saturday]," Boone said.
This date in Yankees history
Aug. 31, 1995: Paul O'Neill homered in each of his first three at-bats, collecting a career-high eight RBIs in an 11-6 victory over the Angels at Yankee Stadium.
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.