Aaron Judge is back, at just the right time.
On Friday afternoon, the New York Yankees announced that their star slugger Aaron Judge is returning to the active roster, prior to their weekend series with the Toronto Blue Jays.
There is no doubt that Judge’s return is good news for the team as they could sure use a positive spark as the postseason approaches. The outfielder has been on disabled list since July 26 after he suffered a chip fracture in his right wrist when getting hit by a pitch.
However, there will be some limitations that come along with the 2017 Rookie of the Year’s return. Until he is medically cleared, Judge will only play the field and pinch run, according to team manager Aaron Boone.
In an article for the New York Post Boone elaborated on the matter;
“We feel like, with the roster expansion [in September], it makes some sense to have him available,’’ Boone said before the Yankees opened a nine-game homestand in The Bronx. “If there’s a spot to get him in to run the bases or play some defense, he’s certainly ready to do that.”
It was also mentioned that Judge will continue swinging the bat in batting practice and simulated games until he and the team feel he’s healthy enough to come back.
Anyone and everyone within the organization, as well as the fans, are hoping that time will come much sooner rather than later. Obviously, there is only so much value Judge can add to the team by just playing the field and running the bases. The Yankees have plenty of players capable of playing outfield and running the bases, but it’s what Judge can do with his bat that makes him such a valuable player.
Going into the weekend, the Yankees have 15 games left and have all but officially secured their spot in the American League Wild Card game against an AL West opponent. Will they play the Oakland Athletics or the Houston Astros? Houston currently leads the division by 2.5 games and both teams are hot lately, going 8-2 over their last 10 games. Regardless of who wins the West, the Seattle Mariners have played their way out of the conversation.
And where will they play, at Yankee Stadium or on the road? The Yankees hold a small 1.5 game lead over the A’s. In a one-game playoff, home-field advantage has the possibility of being a game-changer.
And perhaps the most important question that can be asked is how effective can Aaron Judge be after having been gone for so long with the type of injury he suffered? Will he be able to return his old form in such a short amount of time?
What we do know is that there are just over two weeks left in the regular season and every single at-bat means that much more. Welcome to playoff-chasing baseball.
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