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Aaron Boone pines for Aaron Judge’s return to Yankees’ lineup

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Yankees outfielder Aaron 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. Judge has taken longer than expected to recover from the injury and his absence has been felt. The Yankees have gone a measly 25-18 (.581) compared to 65-36 (.644) when he was healthy. Tongue planted firmly in cheek with the “measly” comment, of course.

Judge is missed so much that, much like a middle schooler writing their and their crush’s initial inside a heart in the margin of their science notes, manager Aaron Boone longingly writes Judge’s name in the lineup card at night, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports. Boone said, “I talk to him and sometimes at night I’ll write his name in the lineup when I’m screwing around, for fun.”

Judge took on-field batting practice on Monday and will do so again on Tuesday. Per Hoch, Boone said, “We have a little bit of an idea of timeline but I’d rather it continue to unfold every day. He’ll hit again tomorrow. I think the work is pretty extensive hopefully over the weekend. We’ll probably have a decision of how we’re going to go about things.”

Assuming Judge is able to return before the end of the regular season, he’ll resume with a .285/.398/.548 batting line along with 26 home runs and 61 RBI in 447 plate appearances. The Yankees entered Tuesday’s action trailing the first-place Red Sox by eight games in the AL East and holding the first of two Wild Card slots.

Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay lead newcomers on the 2019 Hall of Fame ballot

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The Baseball Hall of Fame has released its ballot for 2019.

The newcomers to the ballot, two of whom I presume will be first-ballot inductees, include Mariano Rivera and Roy Halladay:

  • Roy Halladay
  • Todd Helton
  • Andy Pettitte
  • Mariano Rivera
  • Rick Ankiel
  • Jason Bay
  • Lance Berkman
  • Freddy Garcia
  • Jon Garland
  • Travis Hafner
  • Ted Lilly
  • Derek Lowe
  • Darren Oliver
  • Roy Oswalt
  • Juan Pierre
  • Placido Polanco
  • Miguel Tejada
  • Vernon Wells
  • Kevin Youkilis
  • Michael Young

Given his PED associations — and the writers’ curious soft touch about them when it comes to him vs. other players who got caught up in that stuff — Pettite will be an interesting case which we will, without question, be talking about more between now and the end of January. There will be more than mere novelty votes thrown at Helton, Berkman, Tejada, Youkilis and Young, but I don’t suspect they’ll make it or even come particularly close. Everyone else will either be one-and-done or receive negligible or even non-existent support.

The holdovers from last year’s ballot, with vote percentage from 2018:

Edgar Martinez (70.4%)
Mike Mussina (63.5%)
Roger Clemens (57.3%)
Barry Bonds (56.4%)
Curt Schilling (51.2%)
Omar Vizquel (37.0%)
Larry Walker (34.1%)
Fred McGriff (23.2%)
Manny Ramirez (22.0%)
Jeff Kent (14.5%)
Gary Sheffield (11.1%)
Billy Wagner (11.1%)
Scott Rolen (10.2%)
Sammy Sosa (7.8%)
Andruw Jones (7.3%)

This is Edgar Martinez’s last year on the ballot. He’s so close to the 75% threshold that one hopes — and suspects — that he’ll get over the line in 2019, especially given that four guys were cleared off the ballot last year. It should be a move-ahead year for Mike Mussina too, who has suffered from criminally low support given his numbers and the era in which they came. That Jack Morris is now in should further strengthen his case given that he was a far, far better pitcher than Morris.

The rest of the candidates all either have long-discussed PED-associations that should prevent them from getting the required support, were too far out in vote totals last year to expect them to spring to 75% support in a single ballot or are Curt Schilling, who basically everyone hates.

Results of the voting will be revealed on January 22nd and, of course, we’ll be talking at length about this year’s ballot over the next two months. At the outset, though, I’ll go with a gut prediction: Rivera, Halladay, Martinez and Mussina will be inducted.

Your predictions start now.