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Judge could be back with Yanks for London trip

@BryanHoch
June 5, 2019

TORONTO -- Aaron Judge could return to the lineup in time for the Yankees' June 29-30 series against the Red Sox in London, manager Aaron Boone said on Wednesday. Out since April 20 with a significant left oblique strain, Judge is working out at the Yankees' complex in Tampa, Fla.

TORONTO -- Aaron Judge could return to the lineup in time for the Yankees' June 29-30 series against the Red Sox in London, manager Aaron Boone said on Wednesday.

Out since April 20 with a significant left oblique strain, Judge is working out at the Yankees' complex in Tampa, Fla. Boone said that Judge hit in the batting cages on Wednesday, with several rounds of "really letting it go," and went through his defensive throwing program.

The Yankees have been cautious not to promise a timetable for Judge's return, likely a response to his right wrist fracture last July, when an optimistic three-week forecast turned out to be 7 1/2 weeks. Yet Boone said that it is possible the Yankees could have Judge on the active roster for their contests across the pond at London's Olympic Stadium.

"Is there a way? Yes," Boone said. "But that’s something that we’ll let the timeline continue to unfold. Bottom line is, he’s been feeling really good now for a couple weeks where we feel like the injury is out of there. Now because the injury kind of knocks you from doing things, he’s got to get built up a little bit differently than some guys coming back. So as long as he continues to respond and he builds up, we feel good about where he’s at.”

Judge was batting .288/.404/.521 with five homers and 11 RBIs through 20 games at the time of his injury. He had been traveling with the club on road trips recently, but flew to Florida on Sunday for the next stages of his rehab.

Moving parts

With Didi Gregorius set to be activated from the injured list on Friday, the Yankees are continuing to ponder how they will accommodate their returning shortstop. Boone said that he sees Gregorius playing two of three days or three out of four initially, allowing him to continue to build his stamina.

Thus, Gleyber Torres will continue to see reps at shortstop on days when Gregorius does not start, playing second base in the other games. DJ LeMahieu is expected to be slotted in twice a week at second base and twice a week at third base, while Gio Urshela will log most of the playing time at third base. LeMahieu will also occasionally spell Luke Voit at first base.

"Bottom line is, they'll all get very regular at-bats, the way I see it working out," Boone said.

Meanwhile, Troy Tulowitzki is no longer working out at the Yankees' Tampa complex. Boone said that the veteran is trying to "get over that hump and kind of push through the finish line of getting exactly right" from his most recent calf strain. The team has permitted Tulowitzki to return home at this time.

Comeback trail

Dellin Betances faced hitters for the first time in three months on Wednesday, throwing 20 pitches at the Yankees' Minor League complex in Tampa. His season debut having been slowed by a right shoulder impingement, Betances is expected to throw to hitters again on Friday as he aims to rejoin the big league bullpen this month.

"It felt good," Betances told The Associated Press. "Nice to face hitters. It's been a while. Nice to be out there again and not feel what I was feeling last time. I think that's a positive."

Rehabbing from left calf tightness, Giancarlo Stanton went 1-for-5 in an extended spring game on Wednesday, though he did not run out of the batter's box in any of his at-bats. He had nine plate appearances in a simulated game Tuesday.

This date in Yankees history

June 5, 2008: Jason Giambi connected with an 0-2 pitch from the Blue Jays' B.J. Ryan for a two-run walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth, lifting the Yankees to a 9-8 victory.

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