The Yankees initially projected that Judge would be ready to swing a bat in a game situation, either in the major leagues or in a minor-league rehabilitation assignment, three weeks after the July 26 injury, which he sustained when he was hit by a pitch from Jakob Junis of the Kansas City Royals. But more than a month has passed and Judge has yet to swing even at a ball on a tee.
General Manager Brian Cashman attributed the overly optimistic prognosis to Christopher Ahmad, the team’s head doctor, in an interview with the New York Post. “That was a mistake, one he has self-admitted to,” Cashman said of Ahmad. “In fairness to Aaron, four to six weeks is typical. Usually, we don’t over-promise. In this case, the optimism and the timeline were inaccurate.”
Judge, who despite having missed 30 games is second on the team in home runs with 26, fourth in runs batted in with 61, and leads in on-base-plus-slugging percentage (.947), has been reluctant to discuss the injury or its healing progress with reporters.
Boone said Judge still feels pain when he rotates his wrist at the end of a swing and when he attempts to throw at full intensity. “We’ve got to get to that point where it gets to that end point and it’s nonexistent anymore,” Boone said. “And that’s been trending in the right direction but it’s been something that’s moved kind of slow.”
As a result of Judge’s absence, Boone has moved Giancarlo Stanton out of the cleanup spot and into the No. 2 spot in the lineup, where he has mostly performed well. In Stanton’s place, Boone has used six players as cleanup hitters, with Aaron Hicks, Didi Gregorius and the rookie Miguel Andujar hitting fourth eight times each.
Monday night, Voit, who made a stir over the weekend with three home runs in three games against the Orioles in Baltimore, made his debut as the Yankees cleanup hitter. He went 1 for 4 and made an error that allowed Chicago’s fifth run to score.
Gary Sanchez, on the disabled list since July 24 with a groin strain, hit a home run on the first pitch he saw in a rehab game Monday with Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and later tripled. Manager Aaron Boone said Sanchez was “in a very good place” and could rejoin the Yankees when the team travels to Oakland next Monday. … Didi Gregorius, who has missed the last six games with a bruised left heel, was scheduled to see the team doctor Monday night, and Boone was hopeful he would be able to return when he is eligible to come off the disabled list on Thursday. … Hideki Matsui, the most valuable player of the 2009 World Series for the Yankees, was honored in a pregame ceremony in recognition of his recent induction into the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame. Matsui, 44, is the youngest member of the hall, which is in Tokyo.