Judge plays catch on the field: 'A good sign for me'

June 29th, 2023

OAKLAND -- played catch Wednesday afternoon at the Coliseum, marking the first time the Yankees' captain has participated in baseball activities since injuring his toe. It's progress in the right direction, though Judge declined to overstate its importance.

"It's just another step. I wouldn't say it's significant or not significant," he said prior to the Yankees' 11-0 win over the A's that saw Domingo Germán throw the 24th perfect game in MLB history. "There's a lot of steps we've got to take to get back to going on the field, so this is just another step along the way."

Judge last appeared in a game for the Yankees on June 3, when he slammed into the right-field wall at Dodger Stadium to rob J.D. Martinez of extra bases. He was placed on the 15-day injured list four days later (retroactive to June 4).

The team initially termed the injury a contusion and sprain, but Judge said last Saturday that he has a torn ligament in his right big toe. He has also had two platelet-rich plasma injections in different ligaments to address discomfort in the toe. Neither Judge nor the team has specified a timeline for his return.

"Definitely good to see him out here, walking out here and playing some catch," manager Aaron Boone said. "Just another step on the road back. It's been slow-moving, obviously, but at least we continue to see steady progress."

After playing catch Wednesday, Judge said his toe has felt better with every passing day. He relished the chance to go out and keep his arm in shape, noting that throwing doesn't put too much pressure on his back foot. He said he felt good afterward and hopes to throw again Thursday.

"I tried not to push it," Judge said. "I moved around a little bit, went through some very slow, like, if I was catching a ball down the line and reverse pivoting, something like if I was going into the right-center gap and throwing to second, just to see how loading it felt. But I really didn't feel too much going through those things.

"It was a good sign for me. I look forward to getting out there tomorrow and playing some more catch."

The next big step for Judge will be to resume hitting, Boone said. As of right now, there is no timetable for Judge to begin a hitting progression.

"Really being able to torque and turn on that back foot and stuff," Boone said. "When we get to that point where he starts being able to let it go hitting-wise, that'll be a good indicator that now it's just about getting him built up and ready to go."