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Blast in Yankees' victory over A's shows that Aaron Judge is totally back

Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees

Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees celebrates his sixth inning run against the Oakland Athletics during the AL Wild Card Game with teammate Giancarlo Stanton #27 at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018. Credit: Jim McIsaac

The wrist is fine! Thanks for asking!

Aaron Judge made that clear as soon as he could in his 2018 postseason debut, swatting Liam Hendricks’ 2-and-1 fastball over the leftfield wall to give the Yankees a two-run lead in the first inning of Wednesday night’s American League Wild Card Game.

The shot, estimated at 427 feet, jump-started the Yankees’ 7-2 victory over the Athletics, and boded well for the big guy’s condition as the Yankees move on to face the Red Sox in the ALDS starting Friday.

The exit velocity was measured at 116.1 miles per hour, the latest sign that Judge is all the way back from the chip fracture in his right wrist in late July that cost him nearly two months of action.

It also was (briefly) the hardest-hit postseason home run of the Statcast era (since 2015), until teammate Giancarlo Stanton’s 117.4-mph shot later in the game surpassed it.

“Judgy with a big swing and bam, it’s 2-0,” manager Aaron Boone said.

Said starting pitcher Luis Severino, “He has been great since he got here, so it doesn’t surprise me . . . For me, for the team, when you have two [early] runs like that you feel more calm.”

Judge finished 2-for-3 with the homer and a double, scored two runs and added a walk. But it was the home run that had everyone talking. It was his fifth postseason home run, but only his second since he returned from the wrist injury.

“I was just trying to get a good pitch I could drive,” Judge said in the chaotic winning clubhouse while teammates took turns showering him with champagne.

“He’s got a lot of good movement on his fastball. He can work it both sides of the plate. I was trying to get something over the plate I could handle and I was able to do that.”

The home runs by Judge and Stanton illustrated the power blueprint the Yankees are built around, and gave the Red Sox more to think about.

“Very few people get to do this,” Judge said, his eyes closed shut from the sting of the bubbly. “I’m just excited for this opportunity.”

New York Sports