The Yankees almost got Aaron Judge back on Tuesday as he was activated from the 10-day injured list. What they didn’t get was back on the field.
The Yankees-Braves game in Atlanta was rained out on Tuesday night and rescheduled as part of a seven-inning games doubleheader beginning at 4:10 p.m. on Wednesday.
The Yankees have not played since Thursday. Their scheduled Subway Series games at Citi Field over the weekend were postponed after two members of the Mets organization tested positive for COVID-19.
The Yankees also had a scheduled off day on Monday. They have another one this Thursday. Then it will be a mad sprint to the regular-season finale, which is scheduled for Sept. 27.
The Yankees are scheduled to play their remaining 35 games in the span of 33 days beginning on Wednesday (weather and COVID-19 permitting). Their only other off day is Sept. 14.
“2020, baby,” Boone said. “We’ve got to figure it out.”
The Yankees will also play seven-inning doubleheaders on Friday and Sunday against the Mets at Yankee Stadium and a single, nine-inning game on Saturday.
“It’s a challenge,” Boone said. “Obviously, being seven-inning games makes it a little more doable, not as daunting, but there’s no question that we’re heading into a tough stretch here. We’ve just got to make sure we keep our minds right and continue to put our best foot forward.”
Boone said Gerrit Cole and Masahiro Tanaka will start in Wednesday’s doubleheader.
Before the postponement was announced, Boone likened the four-day layoff to an All-Star break. The manager, as he tends to do, focused on the positives of the Yankees getting a mostly unplanned break after a three-game sweep at the hands of the Rays last week.
“I’m hoping that it’s more of a net positive,” Boone said. “As far as having a little bit of down/recovery time. We’ve been going pretty hard so far. Sort of like an All-Star break, although obviously we worked out over it.”
At least they have Judge back — or will when they can actually play a game. The rightfielder has been out since Aug. 11 because of a right calf injury. Judge is batting .290 with nine homers, 20 RBIs and a 1.101 OPS.
Judge, who was in Tuesday’s lineup as the designated hitter, never wanted to go on the IL, but the Yankees decided to be cautious. Of course, Judge is not the only star the Yankees hope to get back from the injured list in the next month.
The Yankees are still without injured position players DJ LeMahieu, Giancarlo Stanton and Gleyber Torres. Pitchers on the IL include recently injured James Paxton, Zack Britton and Luis Avilan.
Miguel Andujar and righthander Brooks Kriske were called up from the alternate site on Tuesday. The Yankees will get to add a 29th player for Wednesday’s games.
“I think a lot of our position player situation — obviously, with Aaron coming back today — we like the progress DJ’s been making,” Boone said. “Giancarlo continues to get better and better. We like what we’ve seen initially out of Gleyber in his first couple of days of rehab. He’s moving around better than I probably anticipated. Zack Britton is doing well and should be a short stint. Obviously, with Pax and Avilan, those are two guys that aren’t going to throw at least for a week or 10 days. I think for the most part, a lot of the injury news we’re getting some really good progress.”
Injures, COVID-19 postponements, rainouts, doubleheaders.
“The expectations around here for this group and these guys — and they’re terrific at it — doesn’t change no matter what the circumstances we’re put in or whatever adversity kind of comes our way or injuries come our way,” Boone said. “We expect to go out and perform well. That’s the expectation in that room and it will continue to be as we navigate through a tough stretch.”