BRONX — New York Yankees superstar Aaron Judge is on the precipice of his return after a nearly eight-week absence due to a toe injury.
As first reported by Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the slugger is expected to return to the Yankees’ lineup on Friday “barring any setbacks.”
Yankees manager Aaron Boone would not confirm that Judge would be back for the series opener against the Orioles down in Baltimore but said that he wouldn’t rule it out.
After facing Jonathan Loaisiga in live batting practice on Monday, the 31-year-old participated in a five-inning simulated game on Tuesday where he took “four or five at-bats,” per Boone, which included a home run. While there was a hope that his workload would increase on Wednesday, Boone could not confirm his activity or if he has begun doing work in the outfield.
Running and defensive duties appear to be one of the final hurdles for Judge to clear as there has been constant speculation — even from the player himself — that his toe will never feel or be the same. Though the Yankees, who entered Wednesday night’s action against the Mets in last place in the American League East, can’t wait much longer.
His bat will provide an immeasurable boost for a stale Yankees lineup that has failed to play .500 ball in his absence. Judge hit 19 home runs in 49 games for the Yankees and despite being out for nearly two months, is still the team leader in round-trippers.