Aaron Judge appears to be responding to a second injection of platelet-rich plasma into the big toe of his right foot, but has not yet resumed his baseball activities.
Judge was injured on June 3 when he ran into a wall while making a catch at Dodger Stadium. The Yankees announced the first injection on June 6 and said Judge received another one last Thursday.
«I’m encouraged by what I’m seeing,» Yankees manager Aaron Boone said before Tuesday’s series opener against Seattle. «He’s been slowly getting better and is able to do more things, but I feel like hopefully that was the beginning of him really starting to make real progress.»
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Boone said the swelling has gone down and Judge is able to do more activity on his toe while maintaining his balance.
Judge is the reigning AL MVP after setting an AL record with 62 home runs last year. He’s hitting .291 with 19 homers and 40 RBIs, and the Yankees are 9-14 with Judge on the disabled list and 31-19 when he’s been available. They have lost eight of 13 since the last injury.
«I’ve been through these wars enough to know that you have to deal with the ups and downs the same way,» general manager Brian Cashman said.
«We have a very good team when we fly high and play the way we’re capable of. Right now, we haven’t been doing that and so it looks bad, feels bad, tastes bad. And nobody likes to lose, so I understand why why the fans are upset and not happy with how it’s unfolding. But there’s a long way to go and we intend to make sure we do what it takes to get to where we need to be.»
Harrison Bader returned to the lineup Tuesday night for the first time since straining his right hamstring while going without an infield single in Seattle on May 29. The 29-year-old Gold Glove center fielder went 1 for 3 with a stolen base and a run. in a 3-1 victory. He originally hoped to rejoin the Yankees for last weekend’s series at Fenway Park.
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«If you put me in a situation where I was at Fenway and I needed to do something big for the team, I just wasn’t entirely sure that final gear was there,» Bader said. «I just didn’t really know what was on the other side of pushing it all the way.»
Bader is hitting .269 with six home runs, 19 RBIs and seven stolen bases in 27 games. He didn’t make his season debut until May 2 after injuring his left oblique during spring training.
Last year he was sidelined from June 26 to September 20 with plantar fasciitis in his right foot. Bader was acquired by the St. Louis Yankees at the trade deadline and hit five home runs in nine postseason games.
«A lot of it comes from how hard I play the game and how I attack it, and that’s never going to change,» he said. «I think maybe picking your spots, maybe not rushing too hard to try to beat an infield single when I was on base anyway… It’s just about playing smart and (not) doing things over the top.» when they are not needed.» I think it will help me stay on the field for much longer.»
New York’s offense had struggled in the absence of Judge and Bader, hitting a major league low .196 in June, both major league lows. Before going 3-for-4 with an RBI double against Seattle, Anthony Rizzo was hitting .083 (4-for-48) with no home runs and four RBIs after injuring his neck in a collision at first base with San Diego’s Fernando Tatis Jr. on May 28.
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DJ LeMahieu, the 2020 MLB hitting champion, is hitting .167 (15-for-90) with two home runs and five RBIs since May 14. Boone rested him from Sunday night’s game when the Yankees were swept in a doubleheader in Boston and he planned to rest him for at least two games against Seattle.
«I just want him to continue to work on some things that he’s working on to get him up and running and unlock him,» Boone said. «Dive into a lot of videos.»
Left-hander Carlos Rodón allowed one run in three innings for Somerset against New Hampshire on Tuesday night, his first game since a two-inning spring training outing for New York against Atlanta on March 5. He signed a six-year, $162 million contract. , Rodón has been sidelined due to a strain on his left forearm followed by back pain.
Rodón struck out five, walked one and allowed one hit, throwing 27 of 42 pitches for strikes.
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«We’ve been very encouraged by how we’ve done here the last few weeks,» Boone said before the game.
Rodón is likely to make three appearances in rehab, which puts him on track to join the rotation in early July, just before the All-Star break.
Left-hander Néstor Cortés, who hasn’t pitched since May 30 because of a strained left rotator cuff, threw from 75 feet Tuesday.