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Aaron Judge slowly working his way back, throws at 90 feet for the first time

Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge looks on from the

Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge looks on from the dugout during the first inning against the Rays at Yankee Stadium on Thursday. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Aaron Judge increased his on-field work Friday but still is an undetermined amount of time away from a rehab assignment.

The rightfielder, on the disabled list since July 27 with a chip fracture in his right wrist, threw at 90 feet for the first time during his rehab.

And although Judge said “it felt good,” it wasn’t good enough for him to take dry swings with a bat, something the Yankees initially hoped he would be able to do Friday.

“He was a little sore from throwing,” Aaron Boone said after the Yankees’ 7-5 victory over the Blue Jays. “So he did not do the dry swings yet.”

Boone said the soreness is not indicative of a setback. “We’re just waiting for it [discomfort] to be out of there,” he said. “And once it is, then we’ll go, but we’re not going to press it, especially now when we’ve waited this long. When he starts swinging a bat, you’ll know that he’s probably getting close [to a rehab game].”

Boone said the plan isn’t for Judge to be shut down. “I think all in all, it was a good day today,” he said. “He continues to progress and he’ll continue to work through all that he does, and we’ll just kind of see where we’re at day by day.”

After his throwing and running session, Judge said he wasn’t entirely sure about his next step. “Every day it gets better, but it’s still a fracture [with some] pain,” he said. “If I don’t make it worse, I’ll ramp it up, but I don’t know [when].”

Boone said that once Judge is deemed ready to go, he likely won’t need a long stretch of rehab games.

“When he’s able to actually able to play in a game, we’ll make that determination along with him,” Boone said. “Does he need a game? Does he need four games? Two games? We’ll just kind of see where we are in the timeline that’s unfolding now.”

Sanchez progresses

Gary Sanchez (right groin strain) ran the bases, which he already had been doing, and then squatted behind the plate for the first time in his rehab.

“Gary had a really good day,” Boone said. “I didn’t see him run but the report was that he ran really well. I was out there for his defensive work, where he was throwing to bases, and he looked really good.”

Boone said Sanchez underwent another MRI as a precaution.

“Just to make sure he’s healing up properly, which he is,” Boone said. “So he’ll go back to Tampa on Sunday, continue to ramp up [baseball activities], and a rehab [assignment] should probably start shortly thereafter. So he’s doing well.”  

Bird’s troubles

Greg Bird went 0-for-2 with a walk Friday night and is in a 7-for-56 skid, with his last homer on July 28. He is hitting .210 with a .695 OPS. 

“I feel like maybe the last couple of weeks he’s reverted back a little bit to what we saw the first few weeks [after he came off the DL in May] when we were trying to get him rolling,” Boone said before the game. “And that’s just a little bit of that lack of explosiveness through the zone.”   

Rotation latest

Masahiro Tanaka will start Tuesday in Miami and will be followed by Lance Lynn. Boone said CC Sabathia (right knee inflammation), whose 10-day DL stint runs out Thursday, will start in Baltimore either Friday night or during Saturday’s doubleheader.

Extra bases

The Yankees remained three games ahead of the A's in the battle for the first wild card. Oakland, which scored the tying run in the ninth when an out call at the plate was overturned and then beat the Astros in the 10th on Friday night, has gone 39-13 in its last 52 games and moved to within one game of  AL West-leading Houston. The Yankees led the A's by 13 games on June 21.

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