OAKLAND, Calif. — Aaron Judge hit off a tee Monday morning, the first time he’s put bat to ball during his rehab.
Even more significantly, Judge — who has been on the disabled list since July 27 with a chip fracture in his right wrist — for the first time in that rehab described the wrist and didn’t use the word “pain.”
“That was a good sign. I really didn’t feel too much of anything,” he said before the Yankees’ 6-3 loss to the A’s. “It’s still broken, so there is some soreness that comes with that, but for the most part, I’m feeling great.”
Although it no doubt was a positive step — Aaron Boone called it “a very good day” — what isn’t clear is what it means in terms of a time frame for an actual return to games. There is a large gap between hitting balls off a tee and being big league-ready.
Judge acknowledged that when he was asked when he might be deemed ready to face live pitching.
“We don’t know that yet,” he said. “Hopefully if we just keep moving in the right direction, hopefully before the season’s over with, I’ll be in some games. So we’ll see.”
Judge took 25 dry swings with a bat Monday morning, something he’d done previously, then took 25 swings off the tee. He said he swung at “100 percent.”
“I didn’t want to take anything at 50 percent,” he said. “I just wanted to go in there and, if it felt great, take some quality hacks. That’s what I did. We’ll see how it feels in the morning today].’’
Boone said the hope is that Judge might take batting practice in the cage by the weekend and “then we’ll see where we’re at.”
With minor-league regular seasons coming to an end, Boone said the Yankees will have to “get creative” in getting Judge at-bats when he’s deemed ready for a rehab assignment. Among the options are simulated games or perhaps sending Judge to Tampa to face some of the pitchers who might be getting work in at the club’s minor-league complex there.
“These are all things we’ll consider and talk about and try to do what’s best for Aaron when it gets to be that time,” Boone said.
For Judge, Monday marked a homecoming of sorts. He grew up in Linden, which is about 80 miles from Oakland.
“Always enjoy coming back to California,” Judge said. “I’m glad to be back but I wish I was playing.”
Jonathan Loaisiga, who posted a 3.00 ERA in four starts earlier in the season, struck out four in two scoreless innings Monday. The righthander, recalled from Double-A Trenton on Sunday, could have a role in the bullpen during the final month.
“That was pretty impressive,” Boone said. “You’re talking about a guy who obviously can give us length. We’ve seen flashes of him earlier in the year when he came up as a starter and pitched well. But guys go out and deliver the kind of goods he did today . . . he was dominant. As this month unfolds, there’s opportunities to earn a larger role.”
Torres AL Player of Week
Rookie Gleyber Torres was named AL Player of the Week after recording a .478/.571/.870 slash line with three homers, 10 RBIs, three runs and five walks for the week ending Sept. 2. Torres also won the honor for May 21-27.
Light day for Didi
Boone said it was “a light day by design” for Didi Gregorius “after getting ramped up the last couple of days.”
Gregorius, on the disabled list with a left heel contusion, ran the bases, took grounders and went through a full batting practice session Sunday.
“He came in feeling really strong,” Boone said.
The hope remains that Gregorius will rejoin the team at some point in this trip, perhaps as early as Friday in Seattle.