Yankees' Aaron Judge (toe) improving, says Aaron Boone

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Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Aaron Judge appears to be responding to a second platelet-rich plasma injection to his right big toe but has not resumed baseball activities.

Judge was hurt June 3 when he ran into a bullpen gate while making a catch at Dodger Stadium. TheYankeesannounced the first injection June 6 and said Judge had another one Thursday.

"I'm encouraged by what I'm seeing," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said before Tuesday's series-opening 3-1 win over theSeattle Mariners. "He's been slowly doing better and able to do more things, but do feel like hopefully that was the start of him really starting to make some real progress."

Boone said the swelling subsided and Judge is able to do more activity on the toe while keeping balanced.

Judge is the reigning American League MVP after setting an AL record with 62 home runs last year. He is hitting .291 with 19 home runs and 40 RBIs this year, and the Yankees are 9-14 with Judge on the injured list and 31-19 when he has been available. They have lost eight of 13 since the latest injury.

Harrison Bader returned to the lineup Tuesday night for the first time since straining his right hamstring while running out an infield single at Seattle on May 29. The 29-year-old Gold Glove center fielder went 1-for-3 with a run scored.

Bader originally hoped to rejoin the Yankees for last weekend's series at Fenway Park.

"If I was put in a situation where I was in Fenway and I need to do something big for the team, I just wasn't completely positive that that final gear was there," Bader said. "Just didn't really know what was on the other side of pushing it fully."

Bader didn't make his season debut until May 2 after straining his left oblique during spring training.

Last year, he was sidelined between June 26 and Sept. 20 by plantar fasciitis in his right foot. Bader was acquired by the Yankees from theSt. Louis Cardinalsat the trade deadline and hit five homers in nine postseason games.

"A lot of it just comes from how hard I play the game and how I attack the game, and that's never going to change," Bader said before the game. "I think maybe picking your spots, maybe not overlunging to try to beat out an infield single when I had base anyway. ... It's just about playing smart and [not] doing things over the top when they're not necessary I think will help me stay on the field for much longer."

Also Tuesday, left-hander Carlos Rodon allowed one run over three innings for Somerset against New Hampshire, his first game since a two-inning spring training outing for New York againstAtlantaon March 5. Signed to a six-year, $162 million contract, Rodon has been sidelined by a strained left forearm followed by back pain.

Rodon struck out five, walked one and allowed one hit, throwing 27 of 42 pitches for strikes.

"We've been pretty encouraged by how it's gone here these last few weeks," Boone said before the game.

Rodon likely will make three rehab appearances, putting him on track to join the rotation in early July, just before the All-Star break.

Left-hander Nestor Cortes, who hasn't pitched since May 30 because of a strained left rotator cuff, threw from 75 feet Tuesday.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.