If the image of the Boston Red Sox celebrating a third consecutive AL East title in the Bronx wasn’t motivation enough for the Yankees, perhaps the complete return of Aaron Judge will be.
The Yankees’ behemoth slugger, who participated in a simulated game Tuesday morning, will play right field and hit second in the lineup against Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi in Tuesday night’s rain-delayed game at Yankee Stadium. This decision was unexpected, as first-pitch time was originally scheduled for 1:05 p.m (game pushed back six hours to 7:05 p.m.).
“Over the last week, [Judge] has been ready to go. It’s just kind of checking the boxes and making sure he’s done everything,” Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone told reporters Tuesday. “We just felt like after [today’s simulated game], we want to start that clock of getting him in there and playing and getting him those at-bats so he can find that timing sooner rather than later. Physically, he’s good to go. So, the decision was made that we’ll go with it today.”
Judge, who suffered a chip fracture in his right wrist on July 26, was activated from the disabled list on September 14 to serve as a temporary pinch runner and defensive replacement.
On Monday, Judge reportedly saw 11 at-bats in a simulated game, and during Tuesday’s scheduled plate appearances, he hit an opposite field home run before Yankees personnel, including Boone, general manager Brian Cashman, and trainer Steve Donohue. This past weekend, Boone hinted at the possibility of Judge returning to the lineup sometime during the Red Sox series.
In 99 games this season (372 at-bats), Judge has hit .285 with 26 homers, 61 RBI, 68 walks, 137 strikeouts, and a .947 OPS.
Some footage of Aaron Judge’s sim game today at Yankee Stadium: pic.twitter.com/Y2tfVkLUeY