Orioles vs. Yankees: Judge’s return adds drama to upcoming showdown

Aaron Judge during an batting practice.
CBS
Amanda Paula
Thursday July 27, 2023

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After a lengthy absence due to a toe injury, New York Yankees‘ star outfielder Aaron Judge is edging closer to a long-awaited return to the team’s lineup. Judge, who has been sidelined since early June, played a simulated game on Wednesday at the team’s training complex in Tampa, Florida. Following the session, he made his way back to New York, sparking hope among fans that he may be activated in time for Friday night’s game against the Baltimore Orioles.

Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone spoke to reporters at Yankee Stadium after his team secured a 3-1 victory over the New York Mets. Boone revealed that Judge’s status is still uncertain, and the final decision will be made after discussions with the player and the team’s trainers. Despite the anticipation surrounding Judge’s potential return, Boone emphasized that the most crucial factor is Judge’s comfort and readiness to resume playing.

Teammate Harrison Bader expressed his optimism for Judge’s return, stating, “I certainly hope that’s the case but his timeline is his timeline and it’s most important that he feels comfortable where he’s at, obviously.”

Throughout his recovery, the Yankees have been cautious and patient in handling Judge’s injury. They have not ruled out the possibility of him returning to the field without a minor league rehab assignment, given his progress since the All-Star break. The team will have an off-day on Thursday, which could factor into their decision-making process regarding Judge’s activation.

The toe injury occurred on June 3 when Judge collided with the right-field fence while making a catch at Dodger Stadium, resulting in a ligament tear in his right big toe. Since then, the slugger has been working diligently on his recovery, with his efforts accelerating after the All-Star break.

In his last full season, 2022, Aaron Judge set an American League record by hitting 62 home runs. This year, before his injury, he was batting .291 with 19 home runs and 40 RBIs. The Yankees have felt his absence significantly, with a record of 19-23 since the injury.

Judge’s potential return could provide a much-needed boost to the Yankees’ lineup as they strive to climb the standings in the fiercely competitive AL East division. His presence on the field and his offensive prowess could play a crucial role in the team’s quest for postseason success.

The 2023 season has been a challenging one for the Yankees, but with Judge’s return on the horizon, there is renewed hope and excitement among fans and players alike. As the team awaits a decision on his activation, they remain optimistic that their star outfielder will soon be back in action, helping to lead them to victory in the second half of the season.

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