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Yankees' Aaron Judge expected back Tuesday: 'I'm feeling great'

Aaron Judge #99 of the Yankees celebrates his

Aaron Judge #99 of the Yankees celebrates his fifth inning home run against the Atlanta Braves with teammate Luke Voit #59 at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Tuesday should bring the kind of headline Yankees fans aren’t quite as used to this season: a player coming off the injured list instead of going on it.

In this case, it will be Aaron Judge, who was put on the IL against his wishes Aug. 12 with a left calf strain.

“I’m ready to go,” Judge said via Zoom late Sunday afternoon after a workout at the Stadium. “I’m feeling great.''

Speaking a few hours earlier, Aaron Boone said he expects Judge to be in the lineup when the Yankees resume play Tuesday night in Atlanta.

 “He’s doing really well,” Boone said. “He just hit live. We had Monty [Jordan Montgomery] and [J.A.] Happ throwing essentially like a sim game, so he got some at-bats there as well. But he’s doing really well and on target [for Tuesday].”

For the second straight day, the Yankees went through a full team workout at the Stadium. Their weekend series against the Mets at Citi Field was postponed after a Mets player and coach testedpositive for COVID-19 late last week.

It is not yet clear when the games will be made up. The teams are scheduled to play three games at Yankee Stadium this weekend, and Boone said he anticipates playing at least one doubleheader and perhaps two.

Judge, off to a blistering start at the plate with a team-high nine homers in 17 games and a 1.101 OPS when he was put on the IL, criticized the decision to sideline him a couple of days after it was made and stood by that Sunday — particularly after watching the Rays sweep three games at the Stadium last week to move into first place. The Rays (19-10) are one game ahead of the Yankees (16-9).

“I felt like I could have been back out there after a couple of days. That’s why I was so adamant about not going on the IL to begin with,” Judge said. “And especially [missing] the chance to see the Rays again, our big opponent in the East, that was my biggest concern, too, was trying to get a couple more at-bats against their arms . . . knowing that we have to play them again down the road. I felt like I was ready [to play] a couple of days later [after being put on the IL], but I guess any time you get some rest, it helps out.”   

Judge's activation will drop the number of Yankees on the IL to nine from their season high of 10. No one else’s return is imminent, though.

Giancarlo Stanton (strained left hamstring) and DJ LeMahieu (sprained left thumb) have gone through baseball activities the last several days at the Stadium but don’t have established timetables for their activation. Gleyber Torres, who landed on the IL Friday with left hamstring and left quadriceps strains, is expected to be out at least two to three weeks.

Torres, off to a rough start at the plate and the field, said he did on-field work at “about 50%” on Sunday and that “I don’t feel any pain” in the quadriceps or hamstring.

James Paxton (left forearm flexor strain) is shut down from throwing for at least two weeks. Zack Britton, who suffered a strained left hamstring Wednesday night, isn’t expected to be on the IL much beyond the required 10 days, but, as former manager Joe Girardi so often said of certain injuries, “hamstrings can be tricky.''

As can navigating this 60-game season and all of the bumps along its road.

“I don’t love the few days [off],” Boone said Saturday. “I’d rather be playing and getting back out there. You never like to go into an off day off of losses. That always sticks in the belly a little bit. We will try and make the most of it. This is a year where you have to be able to make adjustments and make adjustments on the fly. We will try and get the most of having a few days off hopefully allowing us to reset a little bit.”

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