When the Yankees’ season resumes, most likely in Atlanta on Tuesday, Aaron Boone will write Aaron Judge into a lineup card for the first time in two weeks.
“He looks good. He looks ready to go,’’ Boone said of Judge, who participated in a team workout Saturday at Yankee Stadium. “When we return, Aaron will be in there.’’
Though getting the slugging right fielder back from an injured right calf certainly helps a lineup that could use an influx of muscle, don’t look for Judge to be leading a parade of players soon returning from the injured list.
Designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton (strained left hamstring) and second baseman DJ LeMahieu (sprained left thumb) participated in baseball activities during the workout but they aren’t knocking on the re-entry door. James Paxton won’t throw a ball for two weeks due to a flexor strain in his left forearm and shortstop Gleyber Torres is out two to three weeks with left hamstring and quad problems. Zack Britton is nursing a strained left hamstring he suffered Wednesday night.
“Overall, it looks like I got pretty fortunate with it is not too serious,’’ said Britton, who threw on flat ground Saturday at the Stadium. “I am not going to put a date on [returning] yet, but hopefully we can get it quickly in that 10-day period.’’
Due to a Mets player and coach testing positive for the coronavirus, the first of three Subway Series games scheduled for Citi Field this weekend were postponed. Saturday, Boone didn’t sound encouraged that the teams would make up one game or two on Monday when each team is off.
“It doesn’t look like that,’’ Boone said of playing the Mets on Monday.
So, when the Yankees open a two-game series against the Braves on Tuesday, they will have not played a game since this past Thursday, when the Rays completed a three-game sweep in The Bronx. It is the second time this season the Yankees have had games postponed because of COVID-19 issues.
Ideally, Boone would have preferred playing Friday night in order to try and flush the rancid taste of losing from between his gums and cheeks.
“I don’t love the few days [off]. I’d rather be playing and getting back out there. You never like to go into an off day off of losses. That always sticks in the belly a little bit,’’ Boone said via Zoom from the Stadium on Saturday. “We will try and make the most of it. This is a year where you have to be able to make adjustments and make adjustments on the fly. We will try and get the most of having a few days off hopefully allowing us to reset a little bit.’’
Clint Frazier and Mike Tauchman started the eight games Judge has missed, and though they combined to hit .429 (12-for-28) with two homers and 10 RBIs, getting Judge back is a boost.
In 17 games, Judge is hitting .290 (18-for-62) with nine homers, 20 RBIs and posted a 1.101 OPS. His .267 average, three homers and 10 RBIs with runners in scoring position will be welcomed after the Yankees went 1-for-21 in the three losses to the Rays.
Barring a trade, it appears Boone will use Tyler Wade and Thairo Estrada at short in Torres’ absence. The manager said he wouldn’t be opposed to moving third baseman Gio Urshela to short during a game if he had to, but didn’t anticipate starting the sure-handed and accurate throwing Urshela at short. That likely means Miguel Andujar won’t be promoted from the alternate site in Scranton to take Torres’ roster spot.
As for who fills Paxton’s spot in the rotation, Boone didn’t dismiss Clarke Schmidt from being in the mix, even though he isn’t on the 40-man roster.
“He is certainly doing well down there and the reports we continue to get are strong,’’ Boone said of the right-hander.