Judges is out since August 26, after injuring the injured right calf for the second time this season and being on the injured list for the second time. The judge initially went to IL on August 14, returned for a game and immediately went back to IL.
The judge is batting in 18 matches this season with nine home runs, 20 RBIs and 1.081 OPS.
“It’s big to write him back in the lineup,” manager Aaron Boone said.
New York has been aggressively short-handed as designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton was sidelined on August 9 by a strained left hamstring. Stanton was active for Tuesday night’s game against Toronto.
Second baseman DJ Lemahieu, shortstop Gleiber Torres and third baseman Jio Urshela have also been retained on IL this season, but all have since returned. The team went through a 5–15 slump amid injuries, with the AL’s eight-team playoff almost out of the picture.
The Yankees scored Toronto 20-6 on Tuesday night to overtake the Blue Jayes for the second place in the AL East, with the top two teams ensuring a postson berth.
Stanton was left out of Wednesday’s lineup as Boone wants to ramp him up slowly. The judge is likely to follow a similar plan, before being pushed back into a back-to-back game on Thursday. Both players received weekends at the team’s alternate training site in Screpton, Pennsylvania, but neither had anything to do with a specific minor league rehab assignment.
“I believe they are healthy so I’m excited about this,” Boone said. “One of the reasons we’re going lightly is because they didn’t have a big rehab process as far as going down and playing games.”
Torres was also missing from Wednesday’s lineup due to a quad issue. Boan said Torres had a tightness and described the injury as “minor”, but sat him out for a second consecutive game as a precaution. Boone said Torres will be available to play or play in the field and is expected to start Thursday.
Pitchers starting James Paxton and Luis Severino remain on the injured list, along with reliever Tommy Kahnle. Only Paxton is likely to return this season, although the left-hander may be limited to relief work if he returns from all but one left flexor tendon strain.