Aaron Judge’s return imminent: Set to face off against Athletics on Tuesday

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Aaron Judge will be back for the Yankees’ game against the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday. He has been out since April 27 with an injury to his right hip.

Aaron Boone, the manager of the New York Yankees, said this on Saturday before the team’s game in St. Petersburg, Florida, against the Tampa Bay Rays. In Tampa, close by, there is a center for the Yankees’ minor league teams.

The Yankees need Aaron Judge

The Yankees hoped to get Aaron Judge back in the lineup on Monday, the 11th day after he went on the injured list.

Following their captain’s backdated IL stint, the Yankees made a roster move that led some to speculate that Aaron Judge’s return could be delayed by a day. This occurred on the day after Judge had started his stint on the IL.

Just a day after being called up by the Yankees to replace outfielder Harrison Bader, who had been on the injured list, outfielder Franchy Cordero was swiftly sent back down to the minors. Notably, Cordero had been added to the 26-man roster as a replacement for Aaron Judge.

As per the rules, the replacement of Cordero by Bader resulted in a change to the start date of Aaron Judge’s 10-day stint on the injured list, which was pushed back from Tuesday to Wednesday. It is important to note that IL stints can be backdated by up to three days, meaning that Aaron Judge may be able to make his return as early as this coming Tuesday.

Aaron Judge hit two home runs against the Orioles at Camden Yards on April 09, 2023.

Before Saturday’s game against the Rays, here is what manager Aaron Boone said:

“Because Cordero is coming back, because he was optioned the day after (Judge’s first missed games), Tuesday is earliest.”

Before his injury, Aaron Judge had posted solid but not spectacular numbers, a year after hitting 62 home runs and coming close to winning the Triple Crown.

Aaron Judge started the first 22 games for the Yankees and hit.261 with six home runs and 14 RBI. An 87-mph pace and 37-homer output. After posting an MLB-best 1.111 OPS in 2022, his OPS dropped to.863.

According to Boone:

“I think it’s right in line with who he is. He’s close to a 900 OPS. You’re going to have months where it’s 700 or 800. You’re going to have months where it’s 1.200. So I think he’s right where he needs to be.”

The power hitter is likely to start against the Oakland Athletics in his return to the lineup at Yankee Stadium. He has been practicing at the team’s minor league facility in Tampa.

Aaron Judge remains hugely popular among the New York Yankees fans.

The Yankees’ disappointing performance this year has left them 10 games behind the division-leading Tampa Bay Rays in the American League East. Without Aaron Judge, the Bronx Bombers have gone 2-5 since his injury and have scored the fewest runs in the majors.

Aaron Judge has recovered fully

Aaron Judge suffered a minor right hip strain on May 26 in Minnesota when he crashed head-first into third base while being caught stealing. But he already seems to be over it. The slugger played the following night in Texas but left in the fourth inning due to hip pain.

On Friday and Saturday, while the Yankees were in South Florida, Aaron Judge ran at the team’s player development facility and hit in a batting cage. During the Yankees’ batting practice before their 5-4 loss to the Rays on Friday night, he also played fly balls.

In Boone’s words:

“I think he’s doing really well. I think we’re going to be in a good spot come Tuesday where he’s done everything. He’s been hitting for several days.”

Fans are eagerly awaiting to see Aaron Judge back in action. Once he is in the dugout, there will likely be no constraints on when he should play. This means he might be playing almost every game.

Boone confirmed Aaron Judge’s return when he said:

“That’s the plan, but we’ll see where he’s at. That was the calculus this weekend. ‘Do we want to push him back out there if he’s 85-to-90 percent?’ I wasn’t comfortable doing that just because I didn’t want to strain to turn it into a bad situation where we’re talking six-to-eight weeks (out).”

So desperately, the Yankees need Aaron Judge back and for him to play a significant role in their offense, which entered Saturday ranked 12th out of 15 American League clubs in terms of runs scored after finishing first the year prior.

A San Francisco Giants fan shows a placard saying "we want Aaron Judge" at Oracle Park in San Francisco on Oct. 2, 2022.
Bay Area News Group

Boone explained that this was the thought process over the weekend. The question was whether or not they should put the player back out on the field when he was only at 85 to 90 percent of his usual capacity. However, he decided not to take that risk because he didn’t want a minor strain to turn into a major problem that could keep the player out for six to eight weeks.

After the 2017–18 season, the four-time All-Star agreed to a nine-year, $360 million contract with New York.

Boone added his thoughts on other Yankees players who were sidelined due to injuries. Aaron Judge has been working out with third baseman Josh Donaldson, who has been sidelined since April 6 due to a right hamstring strain. In preparation for a potential rehab assignment in the minor levels, Donaldson will step up his preparations this upcoming week. Giancarlo Stanton, the designated hitter, has been sidelined since April 16 due to a torn left hamstring but is making improvement and has no set return date.

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