Andrew Bailey has been sidelined since mid-March with a strained forearm, but the Oakland closer told Jane Lee of MLB.com that “there’s really no timetable” for his return.
Bailey threw a 25-pitch bullpen session yesterday, but hasn’t progressed to mixing in off-speed pitches yet and said afterward that “we’re just going as we feel.”
Brian Fuentes and Grant Balfour have been splitting closing duties in Bailey’s absence and the A’s bullpen is one of the few in baseball deep enough to withstand losing a pitcher with a 1.70 ERA and 133/37 K/BB ratio in 132 innings through his first two seasons.
The lineups for the Red Sox-Yankees game for this evening were just released and, lo and behold, Aaron Judge is back in it for the Yankees. He’ll be batting second and playing right field.
Judge was activated four days ago but had been limited to defense and base running. As of yesterday signs pointed to him not hitting today, but he took swings in a simulated game for the second straight day today — taking advantage of the previously-scheduled day game being moved to this evening — and things must’ve gone well.
Judge has been out since late July due to a fractured wrist suffered when he was hit by a fastball from Royals pitcher Jakob Junis. He has taken longer than expected to recover from the injury and the Yankees have felt his absence as he was hitting .285/.398/.548 with 26 home runs and 61 RBI in 447 plate appearances when he went down and no one has, obviously, been able to replace his production.
Now he’s back to help the Yankees fend off the A’s for the top Wild Card spot.