The Yankees will activate star outfielder Aaron Judge for tonight’s game, skipper Aaron Boone told reporters including SNY.tv’s Andy Martino (Twitter links). Though he is not yet cleared to hit in game action, he’ll be able to play in the field and run the bases some while finishing his final preparations with the bat.
Though Judge isn’t quite fully back, it’s still a notable moment for an organization that hasn’t exactly been charging into the postseason. While the Yanks are all but assured of making it into the playoffs, they haven’t made a push for the AL East and are even in danger of losing the chance to host the Wild Card game.
When Judge hit the DL just before the trade deadline with a wrist fracture, the stated expectation of the club was that Judge would miss only about three weeks. That has proven optimistic, clearly, as Judge has been out for about seven weeks already. Now, he’ll try to help the organization win a few more games down the stretch and — more importantly — try to get up to full game speed before the start of the postseason.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of Judge to the Yanks’ hopes. He carried a .285/.398/.548 slash with 26 home runs in 447 plate appearances at the time of his injury, representing a worthy follow-up to his Rookie of the Year and MVP runner-up performance from 2017. While his overall production is down a smidge, Judge was pumping out even more hard contact (47.9%) than he did in the season prior.
The hope, it seems, is that Judge and the team will benefit from the activation even if he’s not yet a full go. A rehab stint would be preferable, of course, but that’s not an option right now. Instead, the expectation seems to be that Judge will participate in a sim game in the near future in hopes of being deemed ready to get back into the lineup.