NEW YORK (AP) — Aaron Judge is playing simulated games at the New York Yankees’ training complex in Tampa, Florida, as he gets closer to returning from a toe injury.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Judge’s status is “day by day” and he didn’t know if the slugger would require a minor league rehab assignment before coming off the injured list.
When asked Tuesday if Judge could possibly play for New York at first-place Baltimore this weekend, Boone said: “I wouldn’t rule anything out.”
Last year’s AL MVP has been sidelined since tearing a ligament in his right big toe June 3 when he crashed into the right-field fence while making a catch at Dodger Stadium.
His progression has accelerated since the All-Star break, and Judge faced live pitching Sunday at Yankee Stadium for the first time since the injury. He saw 16 pitches in a simulated game against teammate Jonathan Loáisiga, who is rehabbing from right elbow surgery. Judge fouled off four and did not put any balls in play.
Boone said Judge took at-bats Tuesday in Florida, played the field for “five innings or so” and “ran the bases a little bit.”
“Hopefully more of the same and maybe a little more volume tomorrow,” Boone said at Yankee Stadium before his team’s Subway Series opener against the New York Mets.
“Right now it’s just, down there we’re seeing how this goes and seeing if we can kind of script things and make sure he’s getting a lot of at-bats.”
Judge has acknowledged he won’t be pain-free when he returns, but the Yankees think he’ll be able to play right field rather than just serve as a designated hitter.
“He just started taking live at-bats. So yeah, we’ll do whatever we have to do,” Boone said. “But he’s got to build up from kind of a workload standpoint of, you don’t just go from taking batting practice or lifting weights or working out to going out and playing nine innings, whether it’s DH or right field. But hoping and feeling that right field will be in play. So this is all just part of kind of building him up a little better.”
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