Yankees manager Aaron Boone just told the press that outfielder Aaron Judge will be activated before tonight’s game.
Judge will not be used as a hitter yet, but could be used on defense or running bases. Boone didn’t specify when Judge will be ready to hit in a game and that the club is still a couple of days away from making that decision. They are activating him now, though, in order to get him at least some in-game action in preparation for his full return. Boone said Judge will hit in simulated games first and implied that Judge could be a week away from being a full-time player again.
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. They’ve played well compared to most everyone else, but have played poorly compared to the torrid pace they were setting before Judge’s injury and, in the meantime, have all but lost any chance they had at catching the the Red Sox in the AL East.
Judge was hitting .285/.398/.548 with 26 home runs and 61 RBI in 447 plate appearances when he went down. He’s back now, even if we have to wait a few more days for his bat to join him.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter is not expected to retain his position with the club beyond the 2018 season, according to multiple reports from Jon Heyman of Fancred and Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports. Nothing appears to be finalized just yet, however, and the Orioles have yet to address rumors of Showalter’s impending departure or news of a possible contract extension for general manager Dan Duquette.
Even so, it’s been a year of near-unprecedented disaster for the 62-year-old skipper, who helped lead the team to a 44-108 record prior to the outcome of Friday’s series opener against the Yankees. With the Orioles’ 108th loss — a 4-6 heartbreaker against the Blue Jays on Tuesday — they tied the 1937 St. Louis Browns for the second-most losses in a single season, eclipsed only by the 43-111 record of the 1939 Browns. As they have just 10 games remaining in the regular season, this year’s team has no chance of climbing out of last place in the AL East and may well finish with the worst record in the AL to boot.
While the Orioles’ missteps don’t bode well for Showalter’s future in Baltimore, he’s brought far more good than harm to the organization over the last eight and a half years. He assumed the managerial position from interim manager Juan Samuel in the middle of the team’s 2010 season and guided the club to five winning seasons and three postseason appearances in 2012, 2014, and 2016. Entering the 2018 season, his record sits at 666 wins and 677 losses, the winningest mark by any of the team’s skippers since Earl Weaver wrapped his 17-season run with the team in 1986. Whether the Orioles believe Showalter is capable of recovering from two consecutive losing seasons and returning the team to their former days of glory (and the occasional division title) remains to be seen, of course, though there’s plenty to recommend him as they prepare to advance a full-scale rebuild over the offseason.