Yankees activate Aaron Judge off DL; still not available to hit

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Saturday, September 15, 2018

The New York YankeesactivatedAaron Judge from the disabled list Friday, but the slugger still is not yet ready to hit in a game, manager Aaron Boone said.

Judge will be available for baserunning purposes and in the outfield, as needed, while he continues his rehab from a chip fracture in his right wrist.

He entered Friday night's game in the eighth inning in right field as a defensive replacement with the Yankees enjoying a nine-run lead. It was his first appearance in a game since late July, but he did not face any fielding chances in two innings as the Yankees beat the Toronto Blue Jays 11-0.

"Pretty crazy," Judge said. "I was nervous out there just standing in the outfield. Just getting those jitters out of the way now, it's good. So when I get that first at-bat, it'll be like I never left."

Boone said he was "holding my breath" as he put Judge in the game, but despite any initial reservations, the manager isn't worried his slugger could be injured again while playing in the outfield.

"You also understand it's important to get out there because he's not going to necessarily be able to play in games," Boone said. "So if we can knock off a little bit of the rust with a baserunning situation here, or to get out in the field for a couple innings, I think there's value in it, but you still kinda hold your breath on it. But no, wrist-wise, you know, OK."

Before the game, Boone told reporters that the team is a couple of days from making a decision on at-bats for Judge in a simulated game, a step before he will hit in a game.

"He's getting real close to being an option for us," Boone said. "It's about hopefully getting him enough at-bats to where he can kind of knock off some of that rust, and hopefully that timing comes back sooner rather than later and he gets in a comfortable place as we head into the final week and into October."

Judge took live batting practice Monday -- the first time he had faced live pitching of any kind since suffering the injury, which occurred when he was hit by a fastball from Royals pitcher Jakob Junis on July 26.

The Yankees were 25-20 in Judge's absence. On the day he was injured, New York was 65-36 and 4 games behind Boston in the American League East. After Friday's win, the Yankees are 91-56, 9 games behind the Red Sox.

Judge is hitting .285 with 26 home runs and 61 RBIs this season.

Also, injured closer Aroldis Chapman will throw another bullpen session Saturday, a simulated game Monday and then could be activated in the middle of next week.

Chapman has not pitched in a game since Aug. 21 because of left knee tendinitis.

"I'm feeling really good right now," Chapman said through an interpreter. "No pain and nothing."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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