The Yankees will face the Red Sox in a critical series in The Bronx starting on Tuesday, and Aaron Judge could be waiting for them.
Aaron Boone said Sunday it was a “possibility” that Judge would be in the lineup during the three-game series, despite the right fielder still needing to take simulated at-bats before he goes to the plate in an actual game.
“That’s potentially in the timeline, but I don’t think we’re there yet,’’ Boone said before the Yankees finished their series against the Blue Jays at the Stadium. “I’m not prepared to make that call yet, but around that time we’ll be close. I would think at some point on this homestand, assuming everything continues to progress, he should be active.”
Judge was actually activated from the disabled list Friday, but he’s only been cleared to play in the field and run the bases after returning from the chip fracture in his right wrist he suffered on July 26 that is still healing.
He played the final two innings of Friday’s blowout win in right, but didn’t have a ball hit in his direction.
And when the Yankees rallied in the bottom of the eighth and Judge’s spot in the lineup approached, Boone said he considered — briefly — sending Judge to the plate to track pitches.
“Of course [I] thought of that,’’ Boone said with a smile. “[Trainer] Steve Donohue would have tackled me. I told Steve I was gonna send him up on deck just to get him going. We would have pinch-hit for him.”
Boone noted that while it would have been valuable for Judge to see live pitching even if he was instructed not to swing, “It’s still a game” and something could have gone wrong.
The manager believes Judge could get 30-40 plate appearances by the end of the regular season if he continues to progress, and Boone said that may be enough for the slugger to find his rhythm at the plate.
“With hitting, I believe it’s one of those things that’s a little bit unpredictable, whether you’re a decent player or a great player, like Aaron Judge,’’ Boone said of how you feel at the plate. “Sometimes that timing can happen quickly. Speaking from my experience, there are so many varying degrees of when it starts to click.”
Judge is slated to stay with the team and hit off a high-velocity machine Sunday. And Boone is confident there’s time for him to be the force Judge typically is in the lineup.
“I also believe there are enough at-bats there, especially for a great player, there’s a chance he could get into a flow and be the guy we’ve known,’’ Boone said.