TORONTO — Aaron Judge finally progressed to hitting outdoors Thursday, doing so in Tampa at the Yankees’ minor-league complex.
Maybe it’s not a sign the rightfielder’s return from the IL is imminent, but it’s another significant step in his recovery from the left oblique strain that put him there April 21.
“It’s good to finally get outside and get some fresh air when I’m hitting now,” Judge told The Associated Press.
Judge, who has been doing agility work and some throwing in the outfield for a couple of weeks, started taking BP indoors last weekend.
“I’m taking it day to day,” Judge said. “The minute I start thinking about when I’m going to come back, when I’m going to do that, then my hopes might either go up or down if I get pushed back or something like that. So I’m just focused on getting better every day.”
Price not right on Keuchel
The Yankees never blinked in their staredown with Scott Boras, the agent for lefty Dallas Keuchel, over dollars and years. As a result, the former AL Cy Young Award winner is headed to the Braves on a one-year, $13 million deal, according to several reports Thursday out of Atlanta and ESPN.
There was some increased buzz from insiders in Tampa, where managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner has his office, about the possibility of Keuchel signing with the Yankees, who recently sent one of their top talent evaluators to Newport Beach, California, to watch him throw a sim game. But the Yankees weren’t overly impressed, not enough so, at any rate, to offer what Boras was looking for.
Off day for Torres
Gleyber Torres, who played in 58 of the first 60 games, was given the night off Thursday against the Blue Jays.
“Been playing a lot, a little beat up, a little sore in the [left] shoulder the last couple days,” Aaron Boone said. “Available as a guy off the bench [tonight] but wanted to give him the day and possibly could give him [Friday] as well.”
Torres is hitting .279 with an .849 OPS. His 14 homers rank third on the team.
High praise for Volpe
Though Damon Oppenheimer, the Yankees’ longtime director of amateur scouting, typically doesn’t like drawing player comparisons, he did when asked to do so regarding shortstop Anthony Volpe, the club’s first-round pick (No. 30 overall) from Delbarton H.S. in New Jersey.
“The names that our scouts and other scouts that I’ve talked to from other organizations, they always throw at you, this is [Alex] Bregman, this is Michael Young, this is Trevor Story-type players when they were coming out at the same stage,” Oppenheimer said on a Thursday conference call.
Top position prospect Estevan Florial entered Friday 5-for-12 with a homer, double and three RBIs in his first three games with High-A Tampa after being activated from the minor-league injured list over the weekend. The 21-year-old outfielder had been out with a non-displaced right wrist fractured suffered in the spring when he crashed into the centerfield wall at Steinbrenner Field during an exhibition game. “He looks good, he’s swinging well, doesn’t look like he’s favoring anything,” one opposing team scout said.