CHICAGO — Nothing wrong with Giancarlo Stanton’s bat.
And, more significant, nothing apparently wrong with his left calf.
The outfielder, who began a rehab assignment with High-A Tampa Tuesday night, hit three home runs in his first two rehab games Tuesday and Wednesday. After playing this weekend with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre — where he’ll likely be joined by Aaron Judge — Stanton will be off Monday, Aaron Boone said. Then he’ll probably be returned to the active roster in time for Tuesday’s game against the Rays at the Stadium.
“Good to get results, more importantly, though, I know he’s feeling really well,” Boone said before his team started a four-game series against the White Sox. “I spoke to him about an hour ago, and [all] the conversations I’ve had with him the last few days leading up to this, I could tell he’s physically in a really good place. And obviously to get some results as you get going is always nice. Just getting excited that we’re going to get him back here soon.”
Stanton went to the injured list April 1 with a left biceps strain, an injury he recovered well enough from to the extent he was able to start a rehab assignment with Tampa May 21. But there was lingering soreness in his left calf, the result of getting hit by a pitch May 17 and the Yankees pulled the plug on his rehab assignment, placing him back on the IL with a left calf tightness.
Stanton didn’t test the calf significantly in his two games with Tampa — he DH’d the first game and started in right the second but didn’t see much action there — but Boone said all indications are it is healed.
“My understanding is everything, from just how his upper body’s feeling, the lower body, he’s been really doing well, and feels like he’s really turned the corner and feeling as good as he has all year,” Boone said.
When Stanton does return, Boone said he’ll see time in the outfield and at DH, though more at the latter.
“A little of both,” Boone said. “He’ll probably DH as much as anyone but, especially when we get him and Aaron back, we’ll try and use that spot creatively to get guys in the lineup or give guys days off or whatever. But ‘G’ will occupy that spot at least a fair amount.”
As for Judge, out since April 21 with a left oblique strain, he played in a simulated game a second straight day on Thursday at the minor league complex in Tampa. According to one observer, he hit a long home run in his final at-bat of the day Thursday, clanking one off the scoreboard in right-center.
“He’s been hitting off the high velocity machine now for a couple of days [too],” Boone said. “He’s doing really well and there’s a chance he could be playing this weekend in Durham.”
Scranton plays a three-game series at Durham starting Friday night.
Boone said Judge’s time with Scranton will be a “little longer,” than Stanton’s, though he didn’t specify.
But in recent weeks Boone hasn’t ruled out the possibility of the rightfielder being back in time for the Yankees’ two-game series in London against the Red Sox — June 29-30 — if not sooner.
Judge, who has been in Tampa for a little over a week while continuing his rehab, told the Associated Press after Thursday’s sim game he was encouraged.
“It's been feeling good the past two days in my at-bats," Judge said. "Game ready. Just excited to hopefully get a chance to play in some games here soon and get back to New York. The big test was getting these at-bats."