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.
Some good news for the Nationals today: All-Star hurler Max Scherzer is due back from the injured list this week, this time (hopefully) for good. He’s slated to start during Thursday’s series finale against the Pirates.
It’s been a long road back for the right-hander, who earned his seventh consecutive All-Star designation after heading into the break with a 2.30 ERA, 5.6 fWAR, and a league-leading 7.56 SO/BB rate. An untimely back injury forced him to the injured list in the days leading up to the All-Star Game, however, and he hasn’t returned in any kind of part-time or full-time capacity since.
While Scherzer was originally expected to pitch for the Nationals sometime during their weekend series versus the Brewers, manager Dave Martinez elected to push back his return date by a few days. It’s not clear whether he felt some lingering pain during his 64-pitch simulated start on Saturday or whether the Nationals simply want to play it safe with their ace, but either way, the club apparently feels like Scherzer will be back to full strength before the end of the week.
If so, his return would be a significant asset to the Nationals, who could use a sub-3.00 ERA, 5.0-fWAR starter to help bolster their standing in the NL East. Still, there’s no guarantee that the veteran righty is ready to shoulder a full-time role in Washington’s rotation, nor is it certain that he’ll be able to match his results from the first half of the season. In one start between IL stints last month, he dealt five innings of three-run, two-walk, eight-strikeout ball in an 8-7 loss to the Rockies.