Judge hits first rehab HR, may rejoin Yanks Fri.

June 19th, 2019

NEW YORK -- Aaron Judge crushed an opposite-field laser over the right-field wall for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in a Minor League rehabilitation game on Tuesday evening, and that may clinch the slugger's return to the Yankees' lineup.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone said after Tuesday's 6-3 win over the Rays that "it's certainly possible" that Judge can rejoin the big league squad as soon as Friday, when the Bombers will host the Astros at Yankee Stadium. Judge has not played in the Majors since April 20 due to a left oblique strain.

"I've been ready," Judge told reporters in Moosic, Pa. "It's just about getting the reps in and making sure this thing stays healthy and I have no issues. And there haven't been any issues, so I’m ready to go. But those guys are rolling up there, so I don't know if I can crack that lineup. We'll see."

Informed of Judge's sixth-inning homer in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre's 8-4 victory over Norfolk, Boone pumped his fist and smiled.

"Yeah, he’s really close. Physically, he’s ready to go," Boone said. "I think the biggest thing is getting the reps of now, obviously, playing right field down there. … We're trying to build him up at least a little bit before he gets here, because we know physically he’s sound and ready to roll.”

Boone said that Judge is scheduled to play right field in Triple-A on Wednesday and take Thursday off, which could set him up to be activated from the injured list on Friday.

"It's just getting into that baseball-playing mode," Boone said. "Back-to-back [games], being on the bases, being in the outfield, coming in the next day and playing. How do you bounce back?"