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Aaron Boone hopes Aaron Judge can resume baseball activities on Monday

New York Yankees' Aaron Judge celebrates after hitting

New York Yankees' Aaron Judge celebrates after hitting a two-run home run off Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Sean Gilmartin during the sixth inning of the first game of a doubleheader baseball game Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Credit: AP/Chris O'Meara

Aaron Judge wasn’t scheduled for anything beyond “treatment” on his injured calf Saturday and Sunday, Aaron Boone said, but the hope is the rightfielder can resume baseball activities shortly after that.

“He’ll do some lower-body workouts in the weight room and some rehab stuff [this weekend] with the hopes of introducing baseball activities again on Monday,” Boone said before Saturday night’s game against the Red Sox at the Stadium. “He’s feeling pretty good. We’re hoping that this goes well and is a short amount of time.”

The Yankees put Judge on the injured list Friday afternoon with a Grade 1 right calf strain, an injury suffered at Tropicana Field last weekend, Boone and the club figured, when he played four games in three days on its brutally hard turf.

The Yankees haven’t given a timeline for Judge, who is hitting .290 with a 1.101 OPS, nine homers and 20 RBIs. His IL stint is backdated to Aug. 12 and he is eligible to return next Saturday, but even mild strains such as the one Boone said Judge was diagnosed with typically take a minimum of three weeks to heal, sometimes longer.

“I hope he heals up quick,” Gerrit Cole said late Friday after improving to 4-0 as a Yankee with seven dominant innings against Boston. “He obviously does everything in his power to do so. It’s obviously a little bit of a blow, but we have a good next-man-up mentality here. We’ll miss him, but we’ll figure out how to get through it.”

It marked the third straight season that Judge, who appeared in 155 games in his breakout 2017 rookie season, has landed on the injured list.

“He’s champing at the bit,” Boone said Friday. “He did not want to go on the IL.”

But, Boone said it wasn’t worth it for the Yankees to play a not-quite-100% Judge.

“I think when you’re talking about calves, when you’re talking about a hamstring, it’s a situation where you know you could tweak it more and then all of a sudden we’re looking at a four-to-six-weeks [out] situation,” Boone said. “That’s really what we’re trying to avoid here. Hopefully we’ve gotten a little bit ahead of this thing. Hopefully it is a mild situation and Aaron will be back on the field.”

Chappy closing in

Aroldis Chapman, who tested positive for COVID-19 just a few days into Spring Training II, passed what should be his final rehab hurdle Friday when he threw to hitters at the Yankees’ alternate site at the club’s Triple-A ballpark in Moosic, Pennsylvania.

“It went well, he looked good,” Boone said Saturday. “Feel like he’s probably ready to go, or close, so we’ll have those conversations now over the next day or two for what the next step is. But feel like he’s about ready.”

Staying ready

Gio Urshela’s continued solid play at third and a glut of contributing outfielders have blocked Miguel Andujar from the active roster. He remains at the Yankees’ alternate site, where he was sent Aug. 5, and is working out daily.

“He’s just got to get a chance to play,” said hitting coach Marcus Thames, who said he spoke to Andujar by phone Friday. “We have a really good team and a lot of good players, and unfortunately he’s got to go down to Scranton. He’s going to help us at some point this year, so we just have to make sure [he] continues to stay ready . . .

‘’When you get sent down, it’s a hard thing. But you can take it two ways. You can go down there and work, or you can go down there and pout and still stay in a rut. But he’s smiling and he’s down there working hard every day on both sides of the ball and just trying to make sure he’s ready when we need him.”

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