Stanton to start rehab stint, could rejoin Yankees next week

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK – Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton is expected to begin a rehab assignment Saturday and could rejoin the AL East leaders in the middle of next week as their designated hitter.

Stanton, who hasn’t played since July 23 due to left Achilles tendinitis, worked out again at Yankee Stadium prior to Friday night’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Manager Aaron Boone said Stanton was then slated to head to Bowie, Maryland, to serve as the DH in rehab games for Double-A Somerset on Saturday and Sunday.

“First things first, want to get him in that DH spot and just get him back in,” Boone said.

Stuck in an offensive slump, the Yankees had lost 13 of 17 going into the weekend.

Stanton will return to Yankee Stadium on Tuesday to oppose Luis Severino (right lat strain) in a live batting practice session. Boone said Stanton could be activated immediately thereafter and eased back into action as the DH.

The Yankees followed a similar plan with Stanton last year, when he missed two weeks in May with a left quad strain. Stanton played exclusively as the designated hitter in his first 45 starts following his activation before starting in left or right field 26 times in the final 58 games of the regular season.

“We’ll kind of – like we did last year, where we built on the run – (add) the outfield reps and hopefully make that a part at some point, but not immediately,” Boone said.

Stanton is hitting .228 with 24 homers and 61 RBIs this season. He has almost evenly split his time between the outfield and designated hitter, making 38 starts between left field and right field and 37 starts as the DH.

Aaron Judge out of Yankees starting lineup for finale after No. 62

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

ARLINGTON, Texas — Yankees slugger Aaron Judge wasn’t in the starting lineup for New York’s regular-season finale, a day after his 62nd home run that broke Roger Maris’ 61-year-old American League single-season record.

When Judge homered in the first inning Tuesday night, in the second game of a doubleheader against the Texas Rangers, it was his 55th consecutive game. He has played in 157 games overall for the AL East champions.

With the first-round bye in the playoffs, the Yankees won’t open postseason play until the AL Division Series starts next Tuesday.

Even though Judge had indicated that he hoped to play Wednesday, manager Aaron Boone said after Tuesday night’s game that they would have a conversation and see what made the most sense.

“Short conversation,” Boone said before Wednesday’s game, adding that he was “pretty set on probably giving him the day today.”

Asked if there was a scenario in which Judge would pinch hit, Boone responded, “I hope not.”

Judge went into the final day of the regular season batting .311, trailing American League batting average leader Minnesota’s Luis Arraez, who was hitting .315. Judge was a wide leader in the other Triple Crown categories, with his 62 homers and 131 RBIs.

Boone said that “probably the one temptation” to play Judge had been the long shot chance the slugger had to become the first AL Triple Crown winner since Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012.