Josh Hamilton steps up rehab, takes batting practice

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Participating in batting practice for the first time since suffering a broken humerus, Josh Hamilton took 40-50 swings without incident Friday, the Dallas Morning News reports.

Hamilton said he “let it go pretty good” during the sesson in Arlington.  He’s expected to take batting practice again tomorrow.

The plan is for Hamilton to have another set of X-rays next week.  If the scan shows the bone is healed, he’ll likely be cleared to begin a rehab assignment.

Ideally, Hamilton could begin playing in minor league games as soon as next Friday and then rejoin the Rangers for their May 23-29 homestand.

Currently just one game over .500 at 19-18 after their hot start, the Rangers will certainly welcome him back.

Source: Aaron Judge, Yankees reach $360M, 9-year deal

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SAN DIEGO (AP) — Aaron Judge has agreed to return to the New York Yankees on a $360 million, nine-year contract, according to a person familiar with the deal.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday because the deal had not been announced.

Judge will earn $40 million per season, the highest average annual payout for a position player. The contract trails only Mike Trout’s $426.5 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels and Mookie Betts’ $365 million pact with the Los Angeles Dodgers for biggest in baseball history.

Judge was offered a long-term deal by New York before last season that was worth $213.5 million over seven years from 2023-29. But he turned it down in the hours before opening day in April.

The 6-foot-7 Judge bet on himself — and won.

Judge set an American League record with 62 homers in 2022, powering the Yankees to the AL East title. He also tied for the major league lead with 131 RBIs and just missed a Triple Crown with a .311 batting average.

New York was swept by Houston in the AL Championship Series, but Judge became the first AL MVP for the Yankees since Alex Rodriguez in 2007.

Judge, 30, was selected by New York in the first round of the 2013 amateur draft and made his big league debut in 2016, homering in his first at-bat.

A year later, he was one of baseball’s breakout stars. He hit .284 with 52 homers and 114 RBIs in 2017, winning the AL Rookie of the Year award. The four-time All-Star has 220 homers and 497 RBIs in seven big league seasons.