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Judge takes big step in return from wrist injury

Yankees slugger does on-field drills for first time since going on DL
MLB.com @BryanHoch

SEATTLE -- They won't be noted in any box scores, but the home run balls that Aaron Judge sent rattling around Safeco Field's outfield on Friday afternoon carried huge importance for the Yankees.

Judge participated in on-field drills for the first time since his July 26 injury, hitting off a tee before cracking underhand tosses from hitting coach Marcus Thames, who stood behind a net about 25 feet away from the slugger. Judge hit balls to center field and right field.

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SEATTLE -- They won't be noted in any box scores, but the home run balls that Aaron Judge sent rattling around Safeco Field's outfield on Friday afternoon carried huge importance for the Yankees.

Judge participated in on-field drills for the first time since his July 26 injury, hitting off a tee before cracking underhand tosses from hitting coach Marcus Thames, who stood behind a net about 25 feet away from the slugger. Judge hit balls to center field and right field.

View Full Game Coverage

"This is what we've been waiting for this whole time, for that pain to get out of there, for him to be able to really swing," manager Aaron Boone said. "I think he's starting to get at least a little bit excited about how he's feeling when he's swinging the bat. The ball is coming off real nice. Just positive steps for Aaron."

Judge's next goal is to hit regular batting practice, and if that goes well, the Yankees will plot a course for him to face live pitching. Judge has said that he hopes to be playing in big league games within two weeks.

"Hopefully now the progression is one that moves now, now that he's to this point where he can do everything," Boone said. "Now it's just a matter of getting back up to baseball speed, building that stamina and then obviously graduating to live pitching, to seeing an actual pitcher."

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

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge