Juan Soto’s dramatic entry helps Yankees win but the star admits to not 100% healthy

Yankees' Juan Soto in action after making an eleventh-hour entry to lineup against the Blue Jays despite a bruised right hand in Toronto on June 30, 2024.
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In an unexpected twist, Juan Soto made a dramatic eleventh-hour return to the Yankees’ lineup on Sunday, leading the team to an 8-1 victory over the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

Initially scratched from Saturday’s lineup due to a bruised right hand and not listed in Sunday’s original lineup, Juan Soto’s surprise appearance just before the first pitch created a remarkable pre-game scenario for the Yankees.

Manager Aaron Boone shared that Juan Soto approached him in his office about 10 minutes before the game, asking if it was too late to join the lineup. After a brief discussion, the skipper confirmed it was not too late, provided the slugger felt ready to play.

The injury occurred when Juan Soto slid into home plate during Friday night’s game. Despite the setback, his determination to play and his subsequent performance highlighted his dedication to the team.

This last-second lineup change not only surprised fans and opponents but also proved vital in the Yankees’ return to winning form. Juan Soto’s unexpected presence seemed to energize the team, contributing to their dominant performance against Toronto.

Manager Aaron Boone revealed that Juan Soto, who had been unable to grip a bat on Saturday due to a hand injury sustained Friday night, approached him just minutes before the game. After a quick consultation with the training staff and hitting coaches, the Yankees star was cleared to play.

“Everyone said he looked really good, no issues,” Boone said. “We scrambled, switched it up and he played a big part in getting us going.”

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Boone explained that the medical team confirmed Juan Soto’s readiness after pregame treatment and exercises to reduce swelling. The hitting coaches also gave their approval, ensuring he wouldn’t need to alter his swing to compensate for any discomfort.

Teammate Aaron Judge noted that he suspected Juan Soto might be available after hearing loud hitting sounds from the batting cage, interpreting it as a positive sign.

“I heard him hitting in the cage,” the Yankees captain said. “It sounded pretty loud so I figured that was a good sign.”

The last-minute decision caught many by surprise, including Juan Soto’s teammates. He was spotted warming up with the starting lineup during the national anthems, and moments later, the Yankees posted an updated lineup online.

Juan Soto’s unexpected presence in the batting order, hitting second, provided a significant boost to the team. Boone acknowledged the slugger’s instrumental role in igniting the Yankees’ offense.

This rapid sequence of events, from Juan Soto’s inquiry to his appearance at the plate in the first inning, underscores the unpredictable nature of baseball and the impact of a player’s determination. His quick recovery and willingness to play despite recent injury concerns exemplify his commitment to the team and his importance to the Yankees’ lineup.

Juan Soto guides Yankees to win but admits to ‘difficult’ in catching

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Despite recent hand injury concerns, Juan Soto delivered a 106.3-mph single off Blue Jays pitcher Kevin Gausman in his first at-bat. This hit set the stage for Aaron Judge’s league-leading 31st home run, giving the Yankees an early 2-0 lead, marking the first time they scored first in 10 games.

Juan Soto finished 1-for-3 with two walks, including a bases-loaded walk. After the game, he reported no pain while hitting but acknowledged some difficulty catching fly balls due to hand swelling.

The outfielder explained that he felt capable of helping the team despite lingering swelling, citing positive results during warm-up. He expressed confidence in his ability to contribute to a potential win, which motivated his decision to play.

“I think it was in a spot that I could help my team,” Juan Soto explained. “I was feeling good when I was warming up. I know I have a pretty good chance out there to try to win a ballgame today, so I went for it.”

Manager Aaron Boone praised Juan Soto’s performance and its impact on the team’s offense. However, it remains unclear whether he will require further medical imaging on his hand upon returning to New York.

Juan Soto’s unexpected return to the Yankees‘ lineup on Sunday has raised questions about the need for further medical testing on his injured right hand. Initially scheduled for additional imaging on the team’s off day, the decision now depends on Juan Soto’s condition on Monday and his continued improvement.

Earlier reports indicated Juan Soto was feeling “way better,” with initial X-rays on Saturday coming back negative. However, the outfielder isn’t entirely clear of this injury scare yet.

Juan Soto described the severity of his condition on Saturday morning, revealing significant pain and weakness in his hand that affected his ability to grip the bat and maintain his usual swing. This admission highlights the rapid turnaround in his condition that allowed him to play on Sunday.

“It was a big pain in my hand,” he recalled. “It really felt even a little weak whenever I swung. It was just a different feeling. I couldn’t even hold the bat. I keep swinging and I started changing my swing, so I stopped.”

Juan Soto has wrapping on his hand at Toronto on June 29, 2024.
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Known for his durability, Juan Soto hadn’t missed a game from the end of the 2022 season until a recent three-game absence earlier this month. He expressed frustration at the prospect of missing games, emphasizing his desire to be in the lineup daily to contribute to the team’s success.

The star outfielder acknowledged the challenges of playing a full 162-game season, noting the various obstacles players must overcome throughout the year. His comments underscore the physical and mental demands of maintaining consistent performance over a long baseball season.

“It’s really frustrating because you want to be in the lineup every day to help the team to win ballgames,” Juan Soto said. “For me, the most important thing is to be on that field, no matter what. It’s tough, but it’s part of the game too. At the end of the day, that’s why people say it’s really hard to play 162 because you gotta go through a lot of things throughout the year. It’s just a little frustrating.”

As the Yankees monitor Juan Soto’s progress, the team and fans alike remain hopeful that this brief setback won’t develop into a more serious issue. His quick return to the lineup demonstrates his resilience and commitment to the team but also raises questions about the long-term management of his hand condition.

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