Judge's return will mean Cutch sees time in LF

Former NL MVP Award winner, Gardner to split time at position

September 15th, 2018
New York Yankees' Aaron Judge (99), Andrew McCutchen and Brett Gardner, right, celebrate after the Yankees defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 11-0 in a baseball game Friday, Sept.14, 2018, at Yankee Stadium in New York. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)Bill Kostroun/AP

NEW YORK -- had a clear explanation of the job before he boarded that cross-country flight last month. The Yankees could offer immediate playing time in right field, but 's pending return promised to cloud the at-bat distribution later in September.

McCutchen accepted that assignment with open arms, recognizing the chance to join a club that was pointed toward the postseason. Now that Judge has been activated from the 10-day disabled list and could resume batting in games by the end of the homestand, McCutchen says that he is open to any role that Yankees manager Aaron Boone asks of him.

"I know what I need to do," McCutchen said. "I need to go out and play the game when I'm given the opportunity. That's all I'm trying to do while I'm here. Whatever the manager says is what goes, and I'm all about it. This is a playoff-caliber team, and I'm happy to be a part of it."

Judge took batting practice again prior to Saturday's game, and the Yankees are finalizing their plan to have the slugger gather simulated at-bats against live pitching, possibly at the team's player development complex in Tampa, Fla. When Judge entered Friday's 11-0 win over the Blue Jays as a defensive replacement, McCutchen moved to play his first big league innings in left field.

"I do think Cutch can play left," Boone said. "We're trying to rep him as much as we can in practice. He's the kind of athlete that will allow him to do it."

' place in center field is likely secure, but if Judge plays regularly in right, Boone will now have to consider how to split left and the designated-hitter spot between McCutchen, and .

"Good problems to have," Boone said. "There [have been] times in this year where we were wondering who we were going to play on certain days. I'm looking forward to those guys being all in the mix down the stretch. It'll allow us probably to give a guy a day here and there and rotate them to some degree, with the DH as well.

"Hopefully we'll be in a position to have to make a very difficult decision going into the playoffs, as far as who is the right group to put out there potentially in a one-game playoff and the playoff scenario where the lineup could look a little different each game depending on matchups, depending on how guys are playing, how guys are performing. All of that matters."

Ready to launch

(left knee tendinitis) threw 26 pitches in the Yankee Stadium bullpen on Saturday and reported no issues. The left-hander's next assignment will be to pitch in a simulated game early next week, and Boone said that Chapman could be activated shortly thereafter.

"We'll see how he bounces back and make sure everything is fine," Boone said. "If that [simulated game] goes well, then we should be off and running."

Chapman has been on the disabled list since Aug. 22 due to the injury, which he has been managing since at least May.

Rising star

Seventeen-year-old outfielder Antonio Cabello was the youngest player named to this season's Gulf Coast League All-Star team.

Rated as the Yankees' No. 28 prospect by MLB Pipeline, Cabello signed for $1.35 million last offseason after the club's top international target, , signed with the Angels.

In his first professional season, Cabello batted .321/.426/.555 with nine doubles, four triples, five homers, 20 RBIs and five stolen bases in 40 games for the GCL Yankees.

This date in Yankees history

Sept. 15, 1926: Bob Meusel ties a still-standing Major League record with three sacrifice flies in the Yankees' 6-4 victory at Cleveland's League Park. Don Mattingly is the most recent Yankee to accomplish the feat (May 3, 1986, at Texas).