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Aaron Judge returns to Yankees' lineup, but Gleyber Torres still sidelined

Yankees rightfielder Aaron Judge gives a thumbs up

Yankees rightfielder Aaron Judge gives a thumbs up to the Yankees bench coach after fielding a few balls in the outfield before the start of a game on Sunday at Yankee Stadium. Credit: AP/Kathy Willens

Is it a case of one step forward and one step back for the Yankees?

Aaron Judge returned to the lineup and to rightfield on Wednesday against the Blue Jays after a second stint on the injured list because of the same calf injury.

But Gleyber Torres did not start for the third straight game with a quad injury that manager Aaron Boone continues to insist is "a minor situation where there’s a little bit of tightness there."

"Gleyber’s good. I just feel like one more day is best here to be safe," Boone said of Torres, who pinch-hit the go-ahead, two-run double in the Yankees’ win over Baltimore on Sunday, had a day off with the rest of his teammates on Monday, and enjoyed the Yankees’ 20-6 victory over Toronto on Tuesday from the bench.

"He really wanted in there today," Boone said. "He really wanted in there yesterday, as well, but really today. I just felt like – and kind of consulting with the training staff and everything – just one more day is best to make sure this doesn’t become an issue for us because, obviously, like many of our guys, he’s not somebody that we feel like we can afford to lose heading into what we hope’s the postseason."

As for Judge, who went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, he has returned from the IL once before with this maddening calf injury. That was on Aug. 26. But Judge could only make it through 5 1/2 innings before he had to come out of the game and go back on the shelf.

Judge went into Wednesday batting .292 with nine home runs and a 1.081 OPS in 18 games. Judge’s return to right pushed Clint Frazier to leftfield and Brett Gardner to the bench.

Paxton moved to 45-day IL

James Paxton (forearm flexor strain) was transferred to the 45-day injured list on Wednesday. The Yankees are holding out the slim hope he can pitch in relief in the postseason. Paxton, who went 1-1 with a 6.64 ERA in five starts, will be a free agent after the season.

The Yankees moved Paxton to create a roster spot for minor-league catcher Wynston Sawyer. The club signed the 28-year-old to a major league contract and assigned him to the alternate site.

Deivi impresses Boone

Boone said 21-year-old rookie Deivi Garcia "has certainly put himself in that mix and earned his way into those conversations" when it comes to the Yankees’ postseason rotation. Garcia (2-1, 3.28 ERA in four starts) allowed three runs in seven innings on Tuesday’s 20-6 victory over Toronto.

"Looking forward to seeing him go out and continue to kind of paint his story," Boone said. "I think he enjoys the competition, expects a lot of himself, is creative out there on the mound and I look forward to seeing him go out there and continue to compete at this level."

Hope springs

Major League Baseball announced its spring training schedules for 2021. The Yankees are scheduled to open against the Tigers in Tampa, Florida, on Feb. 27 for a spring training that runs through March 28. The regular season is scheduled to begin on April 1.

New York Sports