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Judge tests wrist injury in BP, shows HR power

Slugger hits several out at Target Field in return to batting practice
MLB.com @BryanHoch

MINNEAPOLIS -- If Aaron Judge's right wrist is bothering him, he sure didn't show it on Monday.

Judge participated in on-field batting practice for the first time since his July 26 injury. During five rounds in the cage, the Yankees slugger blasted several balls into the seats, including a deep drive that landed in the left-field home run porch. He also hit drives to right-center and right field.

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MINNEAPOLIS -- If Aaron Judge's right wrist is bothering him, he sure didn't show it on Monday.

Judge participated in on-field batting practice for the first time since his July 26 injury. During five rounds in the cage, the Yankees slugger blasted several balls into the seats, including a deep drive that landed in the left-field home run porch. He also hit drives to right-center and right field.

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"I felt good. I felt great," Judge said. "It's another good step forward. I'm just happy to be outside hitting. One step closer and I'm excited for the progress we're making."

Video: NYY@MIN: Boone on Judge's BP homers at Target Field

Judge hit in front of an early-arriving audience that included hitting coaches Marcus Thames and P.J. Pilittere, plus teammates Aaron Hicks and Austin Romine. Former teammate Tyler Austin, who memorably homered back-to-back with Judge in their respective Major League debuts, also observed.

"It's fun watching Aaron Judge take batting practice," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "That's nice, but obviously you understand it's another step in the progression, so you do get excited when you see one of your best players working his way back."

The display came one day after Judge said he continues to experience pain in the wrist, which was fractured by an errant Jakob Junis fastball nearly seven weeks ago.

"Just the swings I've been taking and how it's been feeling, we're ahead of schedule, I feel like," Judge said. "We're on the track and got to keep moving forward. I keep hitting all my progressions and just keep moving forward until the day I get out there."

Video: NYY@MIN: Yanks broadcast on Judge's BP performance

Judge is scheduled to hit on the field again prior to Tuesday's game, but Boone said there is no set date for Judge to face live pitching.

A Minor League rehabilitation assignment would present complications; Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre is the only Yankees Minor League affiliate still playing, as it faces Durham in the Governors' Cup Finals.

Boone suggested that Judge could instead see simulated at-bats at the club's complex in Tampa, Fla., but Judge declined to speculate when that might occur.

"I really don't want to put myself in a box either by saying a date and not making it," Judge said. "When I'm out there, I'm out there. We're getting close."

Take a break
No one has hit more big league homers since Aug. 24 than Luke Voit, so it is no surprise that the hot-hitting Yankees newcomer would have preferred to keep swinging. Boone said Voit has been dealing with back stiffness for the last two days, which is part of the reason why Greg Bird started at first base on Monday over Voit's objections.

"We don't think it's anything too serious, but I also think it's something where traveling after yesterday, something that I felt like [Voit] could benefit from a day today," Boone said.

This date in Yankees history
Sept. 10, 1922: The Yankees play their final regular-season games at the Polo Grounds, sweeping a doubleheader from the Athletics by scores of 10-3 and 2-1. No relievers are used by either team, with "Bullet" Joe Bush and Waite Hoyt picking up the wins for New York. The club will move across the Harlem River to the state-of-the-art Yankee Stadium in April 1923.

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

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge