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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.

BREAKING: Manny Machado to sign with the Padres: 10 years, $300 million

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Jeff Passan of ESPN reports that Manny Machado has a deal with the San Diego Padres. Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that the deal is for ten years and $300 million with an opt-out after year five.

At the moment there is some disagreement as to how “done” this deal is, with Padres chairman Ron Fowler saying “We do not have a deal. We are continuing discussions.” Ken Rosenthal, however, says that’s “semantics” and that the financial terms are in place, with the deal requiring over some final touches on language and Machado’s physical, which will likely be a formality.

The Padres were a late entrant into the Machado sweepstakes, but they reportedly met with Machado last week. The club has obviously not won for a long time, but they have a strong farm system. While that usually mitigates against a big free agent signing, Machado’s age — 26 — means that he’s still likely to be a productive player when that core of prospects is mature. And if it doesn’t develop, hey, he’s made some serious bank and can still opt-out at an age when he might get another decent paycheck.

For the Padres, Machado represents the biggest single investment in a player in club history. Last year they spent too, of course, giving Eric Hosmer an eight-year, $144 million contract, but this is definitely next-level. As for the baseball side of things, it’s likely that Machado will be the full-time third baseman with Luis Urias handling shortstop. While all of the talk about Machado over the past several months has been focused on money and, sometimes, his alleged lack of hustle, the Padres are getting a player with a career line of .282/.335/.487 (121 OPS+), 175 career homers and a 33.8 career WAR in seven big league seasons. While he played shortstop last year and as a minor leaguer, his past and future is at third, where he is a superior defender. As for the hustle: it has almost exclusively been an obsession of the media, based on an ill-advised postgame quote in October. He has received no bad reviews from former teammates, all of whom speak highly of his game and his work ethic.

When the offseason began it appeared that the Phillies or the Yankees or, perhaps, the White Sox had the inside track on Machado. Everyone took a wait-and-see approach, reasonably believing that by waiting out Machado, a better deal could be struck. The risk of that approach, of course, is that it allowed the Padres to talk themselves into getting bold and, ultimately, swooping in to strike this deal.