BRONX — New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge partook in a simulated game down in Tampa, FL on Tuesday, manager Aaron Boone revealed, as he continues to work his way back from a toe injury that has held him out since June 3.
“He keeps moving in a good direction,” Boone said. “The fact that we’re at this point is a positive.”
Judge’s game lasted “five innings or so,” according to the skipper, and he hopes to ramp up the workload further on Wednesday.
It remains to be seen how much longer he’ll remain in Florida or if he’ll be able to get back for the team’s weekend series in Baltimore against the Orioles.
“I wouldn’t rule anything out,” Boone said. “We’re day-to-day right now.”
Amongst other uncertainties for the Yankees manager is whether or not the 31-year-old will be used exclusively as a designated hitter or if he’ll be able to get some time in right field. Judge has just recently resumed running, but an official word of him going at full speed has remained elusive.
“Hopefully we can ramp up,” Boone said. “Try to set up situations where there’s action in play or script things a little bit more where he not only gets the volume of being out there for two hours but trying to replicate things among the game as much as you can… He’s still in the live at-bat phase. We’ll do whatever we have to do. He has to build up from a workload standpoint just from batting practice and lifting weights to playing a full nine innings whether it’s at DH or right field. I’m hoping that right-field would be in play but this is all part of building him up.
Judge had been cruising toward another big season with 19 home runs in 49 games before crashing into the right-field wall at Dodger Stadium, causing the injury. The star has already admitted that his toe might never be the same again and that there will likely be pain to play through when he does return.