Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton Could Return To Yankees By Next Weekend
NEW YORK — Since both Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton eclipsed their initial expected time on the injured list, the Yankees hadn't given a timetable of when the team anticipates the two sluggers will return.
Yankees' manager Aaron Boone said on Friday afternoon that there's a "good chance" both Judge and Stanton could rejoin the Yankees' active roster by next weekend.
"I would say they're very close," Boone said. "They're both feeling well, they're both doing well. So hopefully we're in the final days here before they start getting some at-bats and playing and back with us."
Stanton hasn't suited up for New York since he was taken out of a game at Tropicana Field way back on Aug. 8 when he suffered a Grade 1 strain in his left hamstring. He's been on the injured list ever since—for close to five weeks—after he was expected to miss three-to-four weeks.
Judge came back from his own stint on the IL on Aug. 26, after missing two weeks with a mild right calf strain, but would sustained a reoccurrence in the same muscle in his first game back. He returned to the 10-day injured list two days later and has been there ever since, something Yankees' general manager Brian Cashman called a "failed rehab."
Over the last several days, during the Yankees' road trip to Baltimore and Buffalo, Judge and Stanton remained in the Bronx, working on running the bases, progressively increasing their intensity of baseball activity with lower leg injuries and taking swings off the high velocity machine.
The next step would be for Judge and Stanton to spend a few days at New York's alternate site, facing live pitching and participating in simulated games.
Boone explained that health isn't the reason both sluggers have been on the shelf for this long.
"They're pretty healthy, but there's also building up and obviously the progressions of running bases and the agility stuff and that endurance," Boone said. "Making sure that when they're entering a game, we feel like it's safe. You've got to pass some protocols and some build ups to get back to a point to where you're in a Major League game and the rigors that go with that."
Before first pitch of Friday's doubleheader against the Orioles at Yankee Stadium, the Bombers are sitting just one game over .500 and are losers of 15 of their previous 21 games. New York is clinging to the final spot in the American League playoff picture with less than three weeks to go in the regular season.
The return of Judge and Stanton to a lineup that's been slumping of late is the spark this club needs to finish the season strong and position itself for a deep playoff run.
Factoring in the return of shortstop Gleyber Torres from his two-week stint on the IL, along with the expected activation of third baseman Gio Urshela and right-hander Jonathan Loaisiga in a matter of days, New York's roster could be the healthiest its been in months come next weekend.
Asked if Boone is confident that the two MVP-caliber ballplayers will be back in uniform with enough time to make it where this club aspires to go, the skipper didn't hesitate.
"Yes, I am."
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