|Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge. Photo by Jason Schott.
The Yankees activated right fielder Aaron Judge on Friday morning after two months of recovery from a left oblique strain.
In 20 games this season up to when the injury occurred on a swing against Kansas City on April 20, Judge hit .288 with five home runs and 11 RBI, and when you throw in his 14 walks, he had a .404 on-base percentage, best on the team.
Judge was at Yankee Stadium on Thursday, back in the clubhouse with his teammates, and Yankees Manager Aaron Boone was excited to see him.
"To see him walk through the doors earlier today and walk into the coaches' room, really good to obviously see him knowing that he feels really good and knowing what he brings to the room, and so it's really good to have him back and can't wait to get him in there tomorrow," Boone said in his pregame press conference on Thursday afternoon.
"I expect him to be Aaron Judge. I mean, I'll take it slow with him as far as probably play him a few days, day off, and kind of build him up that way. The one thing he hasn't done is played a ton of games, obviously, after being out six, eight weeks, whatever it was, you know, I want to build him up smartly. Probably won't play him four or five, six days in a row right away, we'll kind of build to that, but yeah, I feel like he's, physically, in a really good spot, feel like he has been now for a while, and feel like he's ready to go and he'll impact us in a big way...
"We feel like, really now, for a few weeks, he's been healthy, ready to go. Now, it's just been about building him back up as far as stamina, playing, the daily grind of playing. It's more like coming out of spring training or building up during spring training, where you get those consecutive days. As far as health goes, I feel like he's ready to let 'er rip."
On if he knows what they will do to accommodate Judge on the roster, Boone said, "Obviously, we've had a lot of conversations leading up to this point, haven't finalized anything,but obviously we'll have to make a decision after tonight."
After the Yankees win on Thursday night, pitcher Nestor Cortes, Jr., was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in anticipation of right fielder Aaron Judge being activated on Friday.
That means Cameron Maybin is still here and the Yankees will be going with five outfielders - Judge, Maybin, Giancarlo Stanton, Brett Gardner, and Aaron Hicks.
There was concern that Maybin could have been the odd man out, which would have been disappointing since he has been phenomenal since he joined the Yankees in late April. In 41 games, he is hitting .308 with 5 home runs and 14 RBI, and has a .386 on-base percentage.