Saturday is the first day Aaron Judge is eligible to come off the injured list and rejoin the Yankees.
This past Sunday, the right fielder, who has been out with a right calf strain, said he didn’t need to go on the IL which is an indication Judge could be ready to play Saturday against the Mets at Citi Field.
“I hope so, we will see again how the ramp up goes this week as he ramps up the intensity with his run and his movements,’’ Aaron Boone said. “He hit on the field [Tuesday] and I know he is feeling really good, feeling like he is there.’’
Still, Boone wasn’t ready to proclaim Judge will be back Saturday.
“We are at Tuesday right now and we will see where he is at the end of the week,’’ Boone said of Judge, who has watched the Yankees go 5-0 without him. “Hopefully be in position to make that call and get him back in there.’’
Prior to Tuesday night’s game against the Rays, Boone hadn’t received word concerning the third opinion on DJ LeMahieu’s sprained left thumb. The doctor who treated the infielder for a similar problem in 2018 was sent the tests.
“Nothing has been brought to my attention yet on that,’’ Boone said. “I am assuming the diagnosis that we have given to [the media] is what we are going to have moving forward.’’
LeMahieu left Saturday’s game against the Red Sox and the initial diagnosis was the Yankees’ most complete hitter would be out two to three weeks.
With LeMahieu and Judge, the No. 1 and 2 hitters in Aaron Boone’s lineup on the IL the manager turned to an unlikely leadoff hitter against the Rays lefty Blake Snell: Luke Voit.
At 6-foot-3 and 255 pounds Voit’s body isn’t the typical leadoff hitter and had never started a game hitting first in the lineup. He had appeared in the leadoff spot 10 times in his career.
However, Voit entered Tuesday night on a seven-game hitting streak in which he was 10-for-27 (.370) with three homers and eight RBIs.
“It was something I talked to Luke about last year when we were down some guys and I mentioned it to him [Tuesday] and he was pretty fired up about it,’’ Boone said. “It is something against the Rays, who are very good at matching up and creating some good lanes for some of their heavy split on one side [relievers]. I am just trying to balance out where I might pinch hit.’’
Miguel Andujar was in the Yankees’ lineup for a second straight game but not in left field or third base since Boone had the right-handed hitter in the DH spot against Snell.
Asked about his demotion to the alternate site on Aug. 6, Andujar was honest.
“It was surprising but at the same time you have to keep a positive mind and here I am with an opportunity right in front of me,’’ said Andujar, who was 1-for-17 (.059) in five games.
The Yankees made several roster moves before the game. They recalled right-handed reliever Nick Nelson from the alternate site to take the place of right-handed reliever Ben Heller who was optioned after Monday night’s game.
They also signed infielder Jordy Mercer to a minor league contract and added him to the 60-man roster. Mercer was on the Tigers’ Opening Day roster before being designated for assignment and outrighted to the Tigers alternate site. Mercer elected free agency.
The Yankees also transferred catcher Wynston Sawyer to their 60-man roster.