Posted on September 19, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine
Whether or not he’s fully healthy and ready to be a difference maker remains to be seen, but Aaron Judge is back in the New York Yankees lineup. For the first time since suffering a broken wrist in late July, Judge was in New York’s lineup Tuesday night, batting second and playing right field. He went 0-4, as the Yankees beat the Red Sox to avoid being eliminated from the AL East race.
“I felt like I never left. Everything felt good,” Judge said after the game. “Felt like my at-bats were good, I’m seeing the ball well. That’s all I can really ask for, coming back after missing that many weeks. I’m excited with the start, we got the win, and we’ve just got to keep that rolling.”
Judge was officially activated from the DL last week but limited to two innings as a defensive replacement until he was cleared to face live hitting. After participating in simulated games, the Yankees finally cleared him for full game action on Tuesday. Of course, Judge did his best to push the Yankees in the right direction.
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“I just voiced my opinion — a lot,” he explains. “They kind of got tired of me telling them I’m going to be playing. They finally said, ‘Let’s put him in there and let’s see what happens.'”
At the time of his injury, the Yankees expected Judge to miss three weeks. However, that turned into a roughly eight-week absence, which didn’t make it any easier for the Yankees to keep pace with the Red Sox. He admits that he still has some pain from the broken wrist, but Judge intends to play through any discomfort he feels moving forward.
“We still got some pain,” said Judge. “But it’s something that I can deal with and it’s not affecting my swing or anything like that, so that’s why we kind of moved forward and started doing at-bats and finally getting me in a game.”
The question now becomes how quickly Judge can find his timing and rhythm at the plate. At the end of July, he was hitting .285 with 26 home runs. He was undoubtedly one of the team’s most impactful players. With the Yankees heading for a one-game Wild Card Playoff, they need Judge to get back on track as soon as possible. The Yankees have 12 games left in the regular season for Judge to get back to the level he was at before the injury.
“As I’ve kind of said leading up to this, hitting’s a funny thing,” said Yankees manager Aaron Boone. “Sometimes it happens real quick. Sometimes it takes a little bit of time. It’s just a matter of getting that good timing. That’s something that even for great hitters, it can come and go a little bit. So we’ll see as the next couple days unfold.”
There’s no denying that the Yankees have stumbled while Judge has been out. Even if he doesn’t hit the ground running, there is hope that his presence in the lineup can help the Yankees kick things into gear and start playing better baseball heading into October.
“I definitely think certain guys energize a situation,” said Boone. “When we’re talking about Aaron, not only is he a special player, but he’s a special presence on our club.”