David Ortiz homered this afternoon in a Triple-A game and declared his minor-league rehab assignment over, telling Tim Britton of the Providence Journal: “I think I go back to the big team tomorrow. … It’s time.”
Ortiz and the Red Sox have targeted Friday as his return date for a while now, but some recent heel soreness put that in question briefly. Ortiz went 4-for-18 overall on his rehab stint and indicated that he’ll need occasional days off, but feels he’s ready to hit. His last MLB game was August 24 and he’s played just one MLB game since mid-July.
Boston has primarily used Jonny Gomes and Daniel Nava at designated hitter, with Mike Napoli also making a pair of starts there. Ortiz’s return likely means Jackie Bradley Jr. will head back to Triple-A and Gomes and Nava will split time in left field.
For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:
The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).
It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: