CHICAGO — Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge are scheduled to take big steps forward in their comebacks from injuries on Friday night when they will be in the lineup for Scranton Wilkes-Barre (Triple-A) against Durham in North Carolina.
And if Stanton doesn’t suffer a setback — he has already had two — there is a chance he could join the Yankees next Tuesday for the second of three games against AL East rival Rays at Yankee Stadium. As for Judge, he started facing live pitching in Tampa on Wednesday and Thursday so he will likely need more minor league at-bats and wouldn’t be joining Stanton in The Bronx for the Rays series.
“It’s been feeling good the past two days in my at-bats,” Judge told the AP on Thursday. “Game ready. Just excited to hopefully get a chance to play in some games here soon and get back to New York. The big test was getting these at-bats.”
Judge hasn’t played a big league game since April 20 when he left a game against the Royals with a strained left oblique muscle.
Stanton went on the shelf with a strained left biceps on April 1 after three regular season games. While out he developed a right shoulder problem and in his first minor league rehab game with Tampa, (Single-A) Stanton suffered a strained left calf on May 20. In two games for Tampa this past Tuesday and Wednesday, Stanton went 4-for-7 with three homers and four RBIs.
“It is good to get results but more importantly I know he is feeling really well,’’ manager Aaron Boone said Wednesday. “I can tell he is physically in a really good place. Now, heading up to Triple-A, it’s exciting that we are going to get him back soon. My understanding is that his upper body and lower body are really good. It feels like he has really turned the corner and feels as good as he has all year.’’
Stanton will get a good dose of DH, but will also play the outfield.
“A little bit of both. He will probably DH as much as anyone,’’ Boone said. “We get him and Aaron back we will try and use (the DH) spot creatively to get guys in the lineup or give guys days off. (Stanton) will occupy that spot a fair amount.’’
Since all three of Stanton’s starts at the beginning of the year were in left field, Boone has used seven players in the DH spot this season. Luke Voit led with 20 starts there. Clint Frazier was the DH Wednesday for the 11th time and Kendrys Morales, who went on the 10-day IL with a strained left calf Thursday, was the DH in 10 games. Miguel Andujar and Gary Sanchez have eight games as the DH and Mike Ford was used in the spot four times. Judge was the DH for one game.
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