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FILE - In this Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017 file photo, New York Yankees' Aaron Judge follows through on a two-run home run during the third inning of a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins at Yankee Stadium in New York. Yankees slugger Aaron Judge is a finalist for AL MVP and Rookie of the Year, giving him a chance to become just the third player to win the awards in the same year. The Baseball Writers’ Association of America revealed the finalists for its major awards on Monday night, Nov. 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun, File)

Nestor Cortes Jr. optioned in anticipation of Aaron Judge’s return

The Yankees have optioned Nestor Cortes Jr. to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, making room on the 25-man roster for Aaron Judge.

Judge wrapped up his Triple-A rehab assignment on Wednesday, but the question of who would lose a roster spot was pondered for weeks. Cameron Maybin has been mashing in his stint with the Yankees, posting a .308/.386/.496 slash line with five home runs and a 137 wRC+ in 132 plate appearances. It was expected that he could be the victim of a talented roster, but he has survived the chopping block for now.

With the Yankees keeping five outfielders, that meant a bullpen arm would have to go. Luis Cessa and David Hale, both long relievers who have had varying degrees of success in pinstripes, do not have any options available. The only way to clear them from the roster would be to designate them for assignment and risk losing them forever.

As such, fan-favorite “Nasty Nestor” is headed down to the farm. It comes off the heels of a three-inning, two-run outing on Thursday night in the team’s 10-6 win over the Houston Astros. He had been the second leg of a dual start alongside Chad Green lately, but his time in the Bronx has come to an end for now. In 22 innings, he has a 4.09 ERA, 4.26 FIP and a 3.92 xFIP.

With Domingo German and Luis Severino still on the injured list, the Yankees will likely continue to utilize Green in the opener role. New MLB rules dictate a player can’t be recalled within 10 days of a demotion, so Cortes Jr. will not follow Green next time out. Perhaps it’ll be the aforementioned Hale or Cessa to pick up the slack, or Chance Adams could be recalled.

However, the most important aspect of this transaction is that the Judge’s Chambers will be reopened tomorrow. Court is back in session, and against Astros starter Brad Peacock, No. 99 will be in the lineup.

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